IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Reflections on Enacted Sensemaking in the Bhopal Disaster


  • Karl E. Weick


An updated analysis of the Bhopal disaster suggests that problems of abduction, awareness, reliability, and certainty were more serious than was first thought. Expanded analysis shows that the tight coupling between cognition and action, normally associated with enacted sensemaking, broke down at Bhopal. The breakdowns included a low standard of plausibility, minimal doubt, infrequent updating of both mental models and current hunches, and mindless action. The modest enactment that did occur prolonged rather than shortened the crisis. Copyright (c) 2010 The Author. Journal compilation (c) 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd and Society for the Advancement of Management Studies.

Suggested Citation

  • Karl E. Weick, 2010. "Reflections on Enacted Sensemaking in the Bhopal Disaster," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3), pages 537-550, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:47:y:2010:i:3:p:537-550

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sally Maitlis & Scott Sonenshein, 2010. "Sensemaking in Crisis and Change: Inspiration and Insights From Weick (1988)," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3), pages 551-580, May.
    2. Karlene H. Roberts, 1990. "Some Characteristics of One Type of High Reliability Organization," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 1(2), pages 160-176, May.
    3. Karen Locke & Karen Golden-Biddle & Martha S. Feldman, 2008. "Perspective---Making Doubt Generative: Rethinking the Role of Doubt in the Research Process," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 19(6), pages 907-918, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Ogliastri, Enrique & Zúñiga, Roy, 2016. "An introduction to mindfulness and sensemaking by highly reliable organizations in Latin America," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(10), pages 4429-4434.
    2. Hong, Paul & Doll, William J. & Revilla, Elena & Nahm, Abraham Y., 2011. "Knowledge sharing and strategic fit in integrated product development proejcts: An empirical study," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(2), pages 186-196, August.
    3. Sally Maitlis & Scott Sonenshein, 2010. "Sensemaking in Crisis and Change: Inspiration and Insights From Weick (1988)," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3), pages 551-580, May.
    4. Joep P. Cornelissen & Saku Mantere & Eero Vaara, 2014. "The Contraction of Meaning: The Combined Effect of Communication, Emotions, and Materiality on Sensemaking in the Stockwell Shooting," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(5), pages 699-736, July.
    5. Sandra Waddock & Erica Steckler, 2016. "Visionaries and Wayfinders: Deliberate and Emergent Pathways to Vision in Social Entrepreneurship," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 133(4), pages 719-734, February.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:47:y:2010:i:3:p:537-550. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.