Sensegiving and sensemaking in integration processes

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Sensegiving and sensemaking in integration processes

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Title: Sensegiving and sensemaking in integration processes
a narrative approach to the study of international acquisitions
Author: Søderberg, Anne-Marie
Abstract: Most studies of mergers and acquisitions have a managerial tilt and are founded on short visits to the companies investigated. This essay is based on a longitudinal study of a company that experiences a series of international acquisitions, giving voice to a wide range of organizational actors at different hierarchical levels, interviewed at different points of time over a period of six years. The collected narrative interviews are viewed as retrospective interpretations of change processes in the acquired company, made by organizational actors as parts of the plots they are continually constructing and revising to make sense of the course of organizational actions and events. Greimas’ actantial model is used to systematize the different plots that can be seen as results of both individual and collective processes of selection, hierarchization and sequencing of organizational actions and events. It is argued that a narrative approach is well suited to clarify changing patterns of identification and justification and to display different modes of storytelling. The narratological analyses moreover illustrate that even central actors within an acquired company often have such different work-views and world-views that it may be problematic or even counterproductive if upper-level management introduces corporate storytelling through conscious efforts without any negotiation of the different versions of stories told by the employees.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10398/6962
Date: 2003-11-18

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