Sense, signal and software : a sensemaking analysis of meaning in early warning systems

Goosen, Ryno Johannes (2014-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis considers the contribution that Karl Weick’s notion of sensemaking can make to an improved understanding of weak signals, cues, warning analysis, and software within early warning systems. Weick’s sensemaking provides a framework through which the above mentioned concepts are discussed and analysed. The concepts of weak signals, early warning systems, and Visual Analytics are investigated from within current business and formal intelligence viewpoints. Intelligence failure has been a characteristic of events such as 9/11, the recent financial crisis triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and the so-called Arab Spring. Popular methodologies such as early warning analysis, weak signal analysis and environmental scanning employed within both the business and government sphere failed to provide adequate early warning in many of these events. These failures warrant renewed attention as to what improvements can be made and how new technology can enhance early warning analysis. Chapter One is introductory and states the research question, methodology, and delimits the thesis. Chapter Two sets the scene by investigating current conceptions of the main constructs. Chapter Three explores Weick’s theory of sensemaking, and provides the analytical framework against which these concepts are then analysed in Chapter Four. The emphasis is directed towards the extent of integration of frames within the analysis phase of early warning systems and how frames may be incorporated within the theoretical foundation of Visual Analytics to enhance warning systems. The findings of this thesis suggest that Weick’s conceptualisation of sensemaking provide conceptual clarity to weak signal analysis in that Weick’s “seed” metaphor, representing the embellishment and elaboration of cues, epitomizes the progressive nature of weak signals. The importance of Weick’s notion of belief driven sensemaking, in specific the role of expectation in the elaboration of frames, and discussed and confirmed by various researchers in different study areas, is a core feature underlined in this thesis. The centrality of the act of noticing and the effect that framing and re-framing has thereon is highlighted as a primary notion in the process of not only making sense of warning signals but identifying them in the first place. This ties in to the valuable contribution Weick’s sensemaking makes to understanding the effect that a specification has on identifying transients and signals in the resulting visualization in Visual Analytic software.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis ondersoek hoe Karl Weick se konsep van singewing ons insig teenoor swak seine, tekens, waarskuwingsanalise en sagteware binne vroeë waarskuwingstelsels verbeter. Weick se bydrae verskaf ‘n raamwerk waarbinne hierdie konsepte geanaliseer en ondersoek kan word. Die konsep van swak seine, vroeë-waarskuwing en visuele analise word binne huidige besigheidsuitgangspunte, en die formele intelligensie arena ondersoek. Die mislukking van intelligensie is kenmerkend van gebeure soos 9/11, die onlangse finansiёle krisis wat deur die ondergang van Lehman Brothers ingelei is, en die sogenaamde “Arab Spring”. Hierdie gebeure het ‘n wêreldwye opskudding op ekonomiese en politiese vlak veroorsaak. Moderne metodologieё soos vroeë waarskuwingsanalise, swaksein-analise en omgewingsaanskouing binne regerings- en besigheidsverband het duidelik in hul doelstelling misluk om voortydig te waarsku oor hierdie gebeurtenisse. Dit is juis hierdie mislukkings wat dit noodsaaklik maak om meer aandag te skenk aan hierdie konsepte, asook nuwe tegnologie wat dit kan verbeter. Hoofstuk Een is inleidend en stel die navorsingsvraagstuk, doelwitte en afbakkening. Hoofstuk Twee lê die fondasie van die tesis deur ‘n ondersoek van die hoof konsepte. Hoofstuk Drie verskaf die teoretiese raamwerk, die van Weick se singewingsteorie, waarteen die hoof konsepte in Hoofstuk Twee ondersoek word in Hoofstuk Vier. Klem word gelê op die diepte van integrasie en die toepassing van raamwerke in die analisefase van vroeё waarskuwingstelsels en hoe dit binne die teoretiese beginsels van visuele analise geïnkorporeer word. Die bevindinge van hierdie tesis spreek die feit aan dat Weick se konsepsualisering van singewing konseptuele helderheid rakende die begrip “swakseine” verskaf. In hierdie verband verteenwoordig Weick se “saad”- metafoor die samewerking en uitbouing van seine en “padpredikante” wat die progressiewe aard van swakseine weerspieёl. Die kernbeskouing van hierdie tesis is die belangrikheid van Weick se geloofsgedrewesingewing, veral die uitkoms van die bou van raamwerke asook die bespreking hiervan deur verskeie navorsers. Die belangrikheid van die aksie om seine op te merk, en die effek wat dit op die herbeskouing van raamwerke het, asook die raaksien daarvan in die eerste plek word beklemtoon. Laasgenoemde dui ook aan tot watter mate Weick se singewingsteorie ‘n bydrae maak tot visuele analise veral in ons begrip van die gevolg wat data of inligtingspesifikasie het op die identifisering van seine en onsinnighede in visualisering binne visuele analise-sagteware.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/96132
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