Narrativity and organisation : an investigation in sensemaking theory

Maasdorp, Christiaan Hendrik (2019-04)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : The dissertation argues that Karl E. Weick's organisational sense-making theory lacks the resources to properly study organisational phenomena that requires interpretation and can benefit from aspects of philosophical hermeneutics. Whilst sensemaking is often depicted as a hermeneutical approach to organisations, the dissertation traces its theoretical roots and situates it in social psychology and interpretivist sociology. It is argued that Weick's distinction between sensemaking and interpretation is untenable from the perspective of philosophical hermeneutics and that it is based on a too narrow understanding of interpretation. The operations of action- and belief-driven sensemaking, based on the metaphor of the framing of cues, are contrasted with the philosophical her meneutic view of coming to an understanding as a negotiated event, captured in the metaphor of the fusion of horizons. A critical analysis of the role of stories as vocabularies of sensemaking that yield either cues or generates future frames in the form of plausible stories concludes that Weick's theorisation of narrative is too brief to offer a conception of narrativity that resonates with his theory of organisational sensemaking. The philosophy of Paul Ricoeur provides better theorisation about the role of narrative in structuring experience. It is argued that narratives, conceived in the way Ricoeur does, offer a stronger and richer concept than the cue-frame-relation triad of sensemaking theory since it not only opens up proposed worlds, but also connects the past and the present. Therefore narrative should be regarded as more than mere content for sensemaking, and instead should be considered a constitutive element for the sensemaking process alongside the notion of enactment. The prospects for incorporating aspects from hermeneutic theories of narrative into sensemaking theory is investigated in the context of the problem area of organisational identity. It is argued that organisational identity is a problem requiring both interpretation and action. Weick's view of identity construction and Ricoeur's view of narrative identity offer two wmys into this field. Finally Weick's emphasis on enactment and Ricoeur's emphasis on narrative continuity are integrated in a restatement of the model of organisational sensemaking processes based more fully on the perspective of philosophical hermeneutics.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Die proefskrif argumenteer dat Karl E. Weick se organisatoriese singewingsteorie nie organisatoriese verskynsels, wat interpretasie benodig, behoorlik kan bestudeer nie, omdat die nodige teoretiese bronne vir hierdie taak ontbreek, en dat aspekte van die filosofiese hermeneutiek van hulp kan wees in die verband. Alhoewel singewing dikwels as 'n hermeneutiese benadering tot organisasies voorgestel word, speur die proefskrif die teoretiese wortels van singewingsteorie na en demonstreer dat dit beter tuis hoort in sosiale sielkunde en interpretatiewe sosiologie. Vanuit die perspektief van filosofiese hermeneutiek word daar geargumenteer dat Weick se onderskeid tussen singewing en interpretasie onhoudbaar is en dat dit gebaseer is op 'n te eng begrip van interpretasie. Die werking van aksie- en oortuigingsgedrewe singewing, gebaseer op die metafoor van die omraming van stimuli, word vergelyk met die filcxsofiese hermeneutiese siening van betekenis gebaseer op die metafoor van die versmelting van horisonne. Deur 'n kritiese analise van die rol van stories in organisatoriese singewing, waar stories of stimuli verskaf of verwysingsraamwerke lewer in die vorm van geloofwaardige stories, word bevind dat Weick se teoretisering van narratief te lig is om 'n begrip van narratiwiteit te bied wat resoneer met sy teorie van organisatoriese singewing. Die filosofie van Paul Ricoeur bied ryker teoretisering van die rol van narratief in die strukturering van ervaring. Daar word geargumenteer dat narratiewe, beskou in die lig van Ricoeur se filosofie, 'n sterker en ryker konsep bied as die stimuli-raamwerk-relasie konsepte van singewingsteorie, omdat dit nie net voorgestelde worelde open nie, maar ook die verlede en die hede verbind. Daarom moet narratief beskou word as meer as bloot inhoud vir die singewingsproses en eerder gesien word as 'n konstitutiewe element vir die singewingsproses naas die idee van verordenende aksie. Die vooruitsigte vir die integrasie van aspekte van hermeneutiese teorieë van narratief in singewingsteorie word ondersoek in die konteks van organisatoriese identiteit. Daar word aangevoer dat organisatoriese identiteit 'n probleem is wat beide interpretasie en aksie vereis. Weick se siening van identiteitskonstruksie en Ricoeur se siening van narratiewe identiteit bied twee maniere om die problematiek aan te spreek. Ten slotte word Weick se klem op verordenende aksie en Ricoeur se klem op verhalende kontinuiteit deur narratief geintegreer in 'n herformulering van die model van organisatoriese singewingsprosesse gebaseer op die beginsels en perspektief van filosofiese hermeneutiek.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/106143
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