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Clashing meanings: Sensemaking and sensegivingin equivocal contexts
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3030-0314
2011 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

When people and groups with different backgrounds and experiences are brought together to cooperate, a shared perspective is often regarded as a prerequisite for coordinated action, i.e. that the people involved must have a mutual understanding regarding the aims of their work. However, previous research has not been able to conclude empirically whether a shared perspective is essential for bringing about joint action or not. This report highlights the results of a study inquiring into the relationship between coincident meaning and coordinated action in situations characterized by heterogeneity and equivocality. How does coordinated action originate in such circumstances? The empirical case reported concerns “FöretagsNära”, a collaboration project between the municipality of Norrköping and the local branch of the state employment agency. The purpose of the venture was to coordinate the efforts of measures aimed at trade and industry development with labor market measures, in order to contribute to a decrease of the unemployment rate in the city of Norrköping. Based on a longitudinal field study, a narrative of clashing meanings, and a striving for mutual perspectives unfolds. The longitudinal approach of the study contributes to an understanding the complexity involved in developing a shared perspective. The case of FöretagsNära shows that the creation of meaning takes on different expressions during different stages of the process. A battle of diverging interpretations arises about the matter of the purpose of FöretagsNära. The connection between developing a shared perspective and joint action is more complex than previous research has suggested. There is no clear connection between coincident meaning and coordinated action. The results of the study are of both theoretical relevance and practical importance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2011. , 25 p.
HELIX working papers, ISSN 1654-8213 ; 2011:1
Keyword [en]
National Category
Economics and Business
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-111503OAI: diva2:756886
Available from: 2014-10-20 Created: 2014-10-20 Last updated: 2015-01-14Bibliographically approved

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