Dynamics of change recipient sensemaking in realizing strategic flexibility : a competence-based perspective
Faculty of Applied Economics
First Competence-Based Strategic Management Conference, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark, November 21-23, 2012
University of Antwerp
This paper seeks to develop a mid-range theory of change recipient sensemaking processes during simultaneous change in professional service firms. From a competence-based strategic management perspective, organizations develop strategic flexibility in order to adapt to shifting environments. How strategic flexibility is realized in a context of causal ambiguity represents nevertheless an under researched micro-foundation. Based on extant sensemaking research, we advance change recipient sensemaking as a missing link in understanding organizational competence. Through an explorative case study conducted at a professional service organization, we identified four determinants of change recipient sensemaking: professional identification, dominant organizational narrative, equivocal expectations, and cross-understanding between thought worlds. Preliminary case findings reveal that cognitive and affective dimensions of change recipient sensemaking are strongly interwoven and interdependent upon their effect on realizing strategic flexibility.