Sense from silence – a basis for organised action?

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Sense from silence – a basis for organised action?

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Title: Sense from silence – a basis for organised action?
How do sensemaking processes with minimal sharing relate to the reproduction of organised action?
Author: Murphy, Tine
Abstract: The thesis examines an underexplored area in sensemaking theory. The theme for the thesis is to examine the relation between sensemaking and the reproduction of organised action. Existing sensemaking theory focusses on how shared organising processes support the reproduction of organised action (Smircich & Morgan, 1986; Smircich & Stubbart, 1985; Weick, 2004; Maitlis, 2005; Donnellon et al, 1986). This thesis' contribution is to examine sensemaking processes which do not spring from shared articulation within the formal organisation and these processes' relation to the reproduction of organised action. In the thesis the phenomenon is illustrated with a case consisting of a younger voluntary organisation (called the Network Group) whose purpose is to provide tuition for children with another ethnic background than Danish. The organisation survives and meets its purpose. This, however, takes place largely without the voluntary tutors talking with each other to make sense of their shared action. This falls outside the expectations produced in the greater part of existing sensemaking theory. Apart from the relevancy for organisation theory, the interest in the phenomenon organised action with limited shared sensemaking and limited shared articulation – comes from a hypothesis that actors in latemodernity will be less inclined to invest in shared sensemaking because they zap between organisational contexts (Bauman 2000, Beck 1986, Beck & BeckGernsheim 2002 and Bellah et al 1985). This is a phenomenon which has drawn particular attention within the Danish voluntary sector in the last 10 years (Isen1, 1999; Goul Andersen et al, 2000; Hermansen & Stavnsager, 2000; Stavnsager & Jantzen, 2000; Christensen & Isen, 2001; Børch & Israelsen, 2001; Wollebæk & Selle, 2002; Nielsen et al 2004; Murphy 2004). Similar concerns in the U. S. are most notably expressed by Putnam (1990) in the book “Bowling Alone”. In Denmark the phenomenon is linked to perceived difficulties with filling positions at boards of voluntary organisations with younger volunteers.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10398/7790
Date: 2009-05-04

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