Processes of senior managers' sensemaking and learning in a transitional economy

Woldesenbet, Kassa and Storey, John (2010). Processes of senior managers' sensemaking and learning in a transitional economy. Human Resource Development International, 13(5) pp. 501–518.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13678868.2010.520477

Abstract

This paper uses sensemaking and learning theory to gain insight into how senior Ethiopian managers are coming to terms with radically different political and economic forces. These theories have developed in mature western contexts and our research tested their applicability in an African context. The methods employed were detailed data gathering in five cases using semi-structured interviews and documentary analysis. The research found that senior managers in the five enterprises constructed very different sense-making patterns about the business environment and about appropriate business strategies depending on the degree of market or state dependency which they perceived. The analysis also reveals how these actors reflected upon the implications of their sense-making for their own and their organisations’ future learning and capability development.

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