Leadership and sensemaking: a conceptual analysis
Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.
ENGLISH SUMMARY : This thesis investigates the question of effective organisational leadership as ‘sensemaking put to action’. In Chapter 1 sensemaking is introduced as an alternative perspective for effective and efficient leadership. The need stems from the fact that the existing leadership theories are reductionist and superficial in nature. In Chapter 2 eight leadership theories are identified and examined, namely, trait, behavioural, situational/ contingency, transactional, Great – Man, participative, transformational and power and influence theories. A summary is presented on their shortcomings and the need to explore alternative leadership perspectives. In Chapter 3 the thesis investigates the organisational nature of the leadership context as the main reason why sensemaking is to be viewed as an alternative for effective leadership. In Chapter 4 sensemaking theory is summarised. Central to the argument are the properties of sensemaking In Chapter 5 the proposition that leadership is/should be sensemaking in action is set out. Leaders are identified as sense-makers; therefore, leadership is a process that evolves from the sense they make. The process of meaning making is presented as a gap in the existing leadership theories. In Chapter 6 the thesis comes to the conclusion that thoughtful leadership is not found in the existing leadership theories but rather grounded in the process that underpins the interpretation of situations and the meaning-making process for appropriate actions. It is concluded that organisational incentives and promotions can be much more objective if they are based on the characteristics of sensemaking. Finally, it is recommended that sensemaking abilities should be assessed when appointing leaders, and sensemaking should be encouraged and made one of the criteria to assess organisational performance.
AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Hierdie tesis ondersoek die vraag hoe organisatoriese leierskap suksesvol kan wees indien dit op basis van ‘sensemaking’ gekonsipieer word. In hoofstuk 1 word ‘sensemaking’ bekendgestel as ‘n alternatiewe perspektief op leierskap. In hoofstuk 2 word 8 leierskapsbeskouings ondersoek. ‘n Samevatting van hulle tekortkominge word aangebied. In hoofstuk 3 ondersoek die tesis die organisatoriese konteks van leierskap In hoofstuk 4 word ‘sensemaking’ teoreties uiteengesit In hoofstuk 5 word die proposisie aangebied dat ‘sensemaking’-in-aksie die geskikte raamwerk vir organisatoriese leierskap is/behoort te wees In hoofstuk 6 ontwikkel die tesis die konklusie dat deurdagte leierskap bereik kan word indien kernmomente van ‘sensemaking’ in leierskapsdenke en –praktyk ingebou word.