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Sensemaking Organization Series

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Learn more about this series by NPQ’s Editor in Chief, Cyndi Suarez, on the topic of Sensemaking.

Sensemaking organizations are complex organizations that defy clear cause-and-effect relationships, like many in our sector. We find that this organizational change approach is particularly useful in times of rapid change, like our own, when new arrangements and ways of working can emerge that are better suited to the task of addressing complex social challenges.

This series introduces four key concepts and practices of sensemaking: an overview of this approach vs. traditional ones, the interplay of enactment and improvisation, the sensemaking worker, and structuring your organization to be suited for interpretation.

At NPQ, we are putting such an approach into practice. Given our key role in sensemaking in the field, we have no choice but to jump in and explore. We hope these stimulate your thinking and move you to engage with us on the topic.

The Sensemaking Organization: Designing for Complexity

In the industrial age, organizational design set clear lines of command and control. In our age, flexibility and the acceptance of ambiguity is critical. In our series on sensemaking, we look at what are some of the best practices available for designing organizations where interpretation and regular reinterpretation is a key part of the job. READ MORE HERE

The Sensemaking Mindset: Improvisation over Strategy

 Today, we address the need for an improvisational mindset that allows us to work actively with what is in front of us in a more fluid and adaptive way. This is how work gets done in sensemaking organizations. READ MORE HERE

The Sensemaking Worker: Organizing for Learning

This is the third in a series of four articles on how to build organizations nimble enough to know, respond to, and remake their landscapes. This article considers what kinds of employees work best in these organizations and what organizations must do to attract these workers. READ MORE HERE

Structuring for Sensemaking: The Power of Small Segments

This is the last article in a four-part series on sensemaking organizations. Now that we have a sense of the importance of sensemaking in complex organizations, the question is: How do we do it in a timely manner? How we structure these organizations holds the key. READ MORE HERE

  • By

  • Published

    Oct 28, 2021

  • Subject Area
    • Information, Referral, & Advocacy
    • Organizational Development
  • Audience
    • Service Providers (Non-profits, Community Organizations, Local government)
  • Category


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