The Major Strengths and Weaknesses of Karl Weick's Sensemaking Perspective on Organisational Change

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1844 Words
Date:  2022-07-20


Karl Weick's sensemaking perspective on organisational change has major strengths and weaknesses. Organizational change is conducted to enhance the functionality of an organization, company or a group. The switch can be conducted for the whole organization, a department within the organization or even just to a group of departments, a process or a team in the firms. Change in an organization is mainly aimed to enhance the performance of the firm or maybe to adapt to a new trying to facilitate the changes within an organization, the change agents need to have a vivid understanding of the change procedures and effort in carrying out a particular organizational change. The change agent has to comprehend the existing structures and traditions of that specific firm that needs to change its corporate structures. He or she has to know the current roles, communication systems, management and leadership of an organization even before coming up with the idea of change.

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Many of the change agents have always explored the existing and available tool from systems thinking and system theory to help them understand the plant the new ideas that can bring about change in an organization (Waddington and Michelson, 2007). There are various forms of organizational change, and these consist of the following: slow versus radical change, planned versus unplanned change and many more other corporate changes. So it is essential for one to know the type of change that he or she wants to be done in a company since this would help to effectively deal with frustration during the change for any change effort to be successful, it has to incorporate the change agent, management, leaders, and initiator.


In any organizational change, every individual tends to have a divergent opinion or view of that particular change that is about to be carried out.

Organizational change is a funny thing. In many cases, everyone in your organization will have a different view of the same switch. The changes in a firm seem to be complicated, and overlap and it is almost impossible to find a replacement that encompasses the whole structure and systems of the organizations, that is, a single change carried out in an organization may touch on every department, team, network or even an employee.

Many researchers and scholars have had their versions, opinions, and perception on how they think that an organizational change should take place. The different scholars have come up with various theories in trying to explain their understandings as far as the changes are concerned. Karl Weick as a scholar had his perception on the how organizational change occurs and done (Weick 2005, p.409-421). The Karl Weick's sensemaking perspective on regulatory change tends to have specific significant strengths and weakness.

According to Karl, sensemaking involves how exactly people think and many more scholars have in time tried to articulate what it compose from the cognitive function of individuals to the approaches of organization and social dimensions. The primary objective of sensemaking is the formulation of reality and the consequences that come with it. Weick has contributed significantly towards the theoretical development of an organizational change (Weick 1988, p.179-208). When people continuously interact, they will act towards each other and even things depending on the meanings they give to them in the social interaction, the individuals derive the definition from the social point of view and comprehend them in regards to what their particular social world constitute.

One the significant advantages of theWeick's perception is that, it includes a vast number of theoretical views, literature and provide an approach that is pragmatic and enhances room for varieties of sources to help in giving a well-articulated analysis. Sensemaking tries to find a reason on how different people can observe their social world and their unique interpretation on the environment. However, Weick differentiates the two. In short, sensemaking is relatively more comprehensive than just the analysis considering the way cues are brought out one after the other in that sequence.

The sensemaking is more concerned on how scholars, authors, and researchers seem to interpret and analyze the situations that they come across. Again, the word sensemaking is applied to emphasize on the analysis of just a mere event to an experience thus bringing the notion that seeing is believing. In brief, the sensemaking provides the actual interpretation of what is happening around us and not a mere illusion and imagination but rather something more real. In the sensemaking, one tends to relate the experience to the more immediate environment. The relations help to focus more on the decision making.

Another main strength is that, sensemaking tends to put much emphasis on the action when people enact the environment while the decision making put the minor action in favour of specific actions instead. Most critics view decision making as a way of inflicting demand on events, and it is an outcome of a post-rationalization process. Decision making is further defined to be intentional and more purposive trait onto things that people analyze and observe.

Nevertheless, a sensemaking perspective aims to address the organizational theory imbalance by considering the behavior to be least purposeful and much interminate (Jones and Pearson, 2012).

Sensemaking assumes individuals to be rational actors and that action is much of verbalized things (Thomas and Gioia 2005, p.201). A sensemaking perspective brings out a complicated interaction between the levels of analysis within an individual's thought and no possibility of separating them since the level of analysis is not divided into a group, individual, and organizational level. In the sensemaking perception, scholars use jargons that act as elements of sensemaking, for instance, Weick applied the following vocabularies: third order controls at the company levels, paradigms of occupations as a show of experience to help further understand the concept of sensemaking (Weick 1988, p.183).

Weick's sensemaking perception shows that it is human behavior that analyses a broad category of insights and even the literature thus sensemaking is relatively impossible to examine in a summary but rather the assumptions of perceptions by different scholars and researchers can be analyzed and discussed. According to Weick, sensemaking is defined as a way through which people extract meaning from an experience that is ongoing.

The fact that sensemaking is more focused on the social context in which the specific meanings are formulated is another major strength. The seven properties of sensemaking assist in thinking about the procedure. The features help a team or a person to leave their original belief and adopt a new one which is more sensitive to a particular context, for example, the social context that is when individuals interact face to face (Kitam and Pilli 2016). Again sensemaking is based on the number of identities of people and the team members with the urge for self-consistency, and self-enhancement is impacting on the process. The property of identity majors our focus that sensemaking relies on the people's carriers and the environment. Sensemaking happens within a particular parameter of people and the status of an organization.

Moreover, a sensemaking perspective focuses on how individuals tend to construct the world in trying to find out their identity. It also emphasizes on how individuals attribute meaning from the past with thoughtful examination of their actions and the sense of such activities. The aspect of retrospect as a major property of sensemaking emphasizes our act and finally discovers our principles, values, preferences, and beliefs. Karl also perceived that sensemaking put more emphasis on cues which are later connected to an individual's categories from his or her past. Weick defines out the main differences between the frames and cues, stating that signals focus more on the present moments of experience while the structures align to the last moment as far as socialization is concerned. Weick perceived that, if someone can be in a position to relate the two moments then meaning is formulated. Frames and categories that describe the experience and cues describing the present experience tend to form the content of sensemaking. Signals are fundamental in understanding what an individual or team is noticing since it becomes the primary input of sensemaking procedure.

A sensemaking perspective brings out the nature of things and people in a continuous developing step thus it is easy to understand the concept of sensemaking, by merely being sensitive to the way individuals extract moments from events and cues from the same moments. Sensemaking, as perceived by Weick, tries to focus more on how people enact environment sensibly. According to Weick, the enactment is not a rational concept since individuals take a cause of action and try to justify their stand and reason why such measures were made, and attitude dragged into the work.

A sensemaking perspective also observes the environment to be more of an invented thing that to be discovered. Enactment is viewed mainly as reacting according to an individual's understanding of that particular situation or an event.

Another great strength of Weick's sensemaking on organizational change is attributed to his theory of enactment and his conceptual model of sensemaking. Weick's theory of statute brings out ideas to a certain extent. The assumptions of basically interpreting mind mark the method. The properties sum up to focus our attention on the nature of social life; analysis that is emphasized on social context; the fact that we act before we think and later reflect on the action and, that reasoning is more of plausibility and not based on the accuracy.


The Weick's sensemaking on organizational change has a variety of significant shortcomings. One of the flaws is that, subordinates are not always opened to share specific information with their superiors and they may never engage the management and leaders face to face to have a particular problem solved. The fact that the juniors are not free to air their thoughts makes Karl's sensemaking perception that people need to engage and interact to initiate appropriate organizational change.

The inability to be in a position to think out loud is another major weakness, people in leadership positions are viewed by many as having rationale opinions and ideas. However, the individuals in higher ranks may even fail to construct or extract clear meanings from their past experiences, moments and interactions since they always have a constant flow of communications from meetings and verbal talks (Pollock and Cornford 2004,p.32-52). However, Karl does not bring out the resolution to this in his sensemaking perception. Again, the distance sensemaking is likely to put much pressure on the social component as opposed to a person as the information processor. According to the sensemaking perception, the mind is full of information and knowledge structures from various dimensions of life, for instance, in individuals own history, organization information and more other areas of life thus for a person to be sure about a thing, then it has to be discussed in details collectively. So, the isolation of the roles of those leaders or individuals in a higher position within an organization is the main weakness in making sense of what is going on. This isolation mostly happens when the new people i...

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The Major Strengths and Weaknesses of Karl Weick's Sensemaking Perspective on Organisational Change. (2022, Jul 20). Retrieved from

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