The teaching of organization theory and the conduct of organizational research have been dominated by a focus on decision-making and the concept of strategic rationality. However, the rational model ignores the inherent complexity and ambiguity of real-world organizations and their environments. In this landmark volume, Karl E Weick highlights how the ‘sensemaking’ process shapes organizational structure and behaviour. The process is seen as the creation of reality as an ongoing accomplishment that takes form when people make retrospective sense of the situations in which they find themselves.
This volume brings together the bestâ€“known and most influential articles on sensemaking by one of its most distinguished exponents, Karl Weick. Weick explores the process of how organizations discover that they face important decisions. Often organizations have discussions in order to see what they think, or act in order to see what they want â€“ before they are even aware that a decision has to be made. The effective organization is one that understands this process of sensemaking and learns to manage it with wisdom. The ways in which people do that are demonstrated in chapters of this book. This important collection provides a valuable addition to the international literature on organization theory and will be welcomed by students and researchers alike.
Since the first edition of Managing the Unexpected was published in 2001, the unexpected has become a growing part of our everyday lives. The unexpected is often dramatic, as with hurricanes or terrorist attacks. But the unexpected can also come in more subtle forms, such as a small organizational lapse that leads to a major blunder, or an unexamined assumption that costs lives in a crisis. Why are some organizations better able than others to maintain function and structure in the face of unanticipated change? Authors Karl Weick and Kathleen Sutcliffe answer this question by pointing to high reliability organizations (HROs), such as emergency rooms in hospitals, flight operations of aircraft carriers, and firefighting units, as models to follow. These organizations have developed ways of acting and styles of learning that enable them to manage the unexpected better than other organizations. Thoroughly revised and updated, the second edition of the groundbreaking book Managing the Unexpected uses HROs as a template for any institution that wants to better organize for high reliability.