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Micro-Practices of Strategic Sensemaking and Sensegiving: How Middle Managers Interpret and Sell Change Every Day


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  • Linda Rouleau
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    This paper looks at the workings of ongoing primary sensemaking and sensegiving micro-practices by which middle managers interpret and sell strategic change at the organizational interface. Through middle managers' routines and conversations related to the implementation of a strategic change in a top-of-the-line clothing company, the article shows how they contribute to renewing links with stakeholders, in particular clientele, by drawing on their tacit knowledge. Interpretative analysis of these routines and conversations highlights four micro-practices of strategic sensemaking and sensegiving: translating the orientation, overcoding the strategy, disciplining the client, and justifying the change. The paper outlines a practice perspective of sensemaking and sensegiving. It ends by suggesting the necessity of looking at middle managers' role as interpreters and sellers of strategic change at the micro level for a better understanding of their contribution in sustaining competitive advantage through their everyday activities. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2005.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Management Studies.

    Volume (Year): 42 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 7 (November)
    Pages: 1413-1441

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:42:y:2005:i:7:p:1413-1441

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    Cited by:
    1. Maria Lusiani & Ann Langley, 2013. "Professionals as strategists? Channelling and organizing distributed strategizing," Working Papers 32, Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia.
    2. Fauré, Bertrand & Rouleau, Linda, 2011. "The strategic competence of accountants and middle managers in budget making," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 167-182, April.
    3. Rosalia Aldraci Barbosa Lavarda & Maria Teresa Canet-Giner & Fernando Juan Peris-Bonet, 2010. "Integrative strategy formation process and the management of complex work – a microorganizational analisys," Brazilian Business Review, Fucape Business School, vol. 7(3), pages 108-129, September.
    4. Lionel Garreau & Serge Perrot, 2012. "Comprendre la dynamique de la socialisation organisationnelle: Une approche par le sensemaking," Post-Print halshs-00949067, HAL.
    5. F. Grazzini, 2010. "Processus de constitution des rôles managériaux dans la formation de la stratégie – une lecture ancrée dans la théorie des représentations sociales," Post-Print halshs-00534813, HAL.
    6. Carola Hillenbrand & Kevin Money & Stephen Pavelin, 2012. "Stakeholder-Defined Corporate Responsibility for a Pre-Credit-Crunch Financial Service Company: Lessons for How Good Reputations are Won and Lost," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 105(3), pages 337-356, February.
    7. Genevieve Musca & Marie Perez & Linda Rouleau & Yvonne Giordano, 2010. ""Extreme" Organizational Ethnography: The Case of the Darwin Expedition in Patagonia," Post-Print halshs-00470018, HAL.


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