Sensemaking and teamwork- understanding the relationship between management discourse and work practice

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Sensemaking and teamwork- understanding the relationship between management discourse and work practice

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Publication Conference Paper, peer reviewed
Title Sensemaking and teamwork- understanding the relationship between management discourse and work practice
Author(s) Parker, Peter
Date 2007
English abstract
We have studied an organizational change in a medium sized factory in Sweden (about 120 employees). The overall purpose of this change was to create an organizational climate/culture in which the employees were to take an active interest in the daily work and to develop a larger extent of responsibility (such as planning the manufacturing orders). The reason for these changes was an experienced need for increased capacity of production, increased rates of effectiveness and productivity. This organizational development is vital for the factory because there have been few technical investments during the last few years and there is also an estimated overcapacity totally in production among the plants Sweden. Factory management in active cooperation with the local union decided that improvements could be achieved by organizing work in teams and by developing a new organizational climate/culture. These changes were felt to be integral in securing the plant and jobs in a long term perspective. Our interpretation of the situation in the factory is based on interviews made with team leaders (about 25 persons), union leaders, managers and other personnel. Findings indicate that the meaning and understanding of work have negatively changed instead of the opposite. Instead of experiencing increased responsibility and opportunities to plan the daily work, the employees felt a decreasing sense of competence since their jobs became less demanding and more routine. There is a sense of frustration both in management and among the workers as to how to bring about constructive change that increases both competence and competitiveness in the workplace. This paper explores developments in the factory from a sensemaking perspective. We seek to develop an understanding of the factors shaping how teamwork is understood. An important finding of the study is that the meaning of work in teams is intimately intertwined with factory-wide processes of sensemaking. The character of production and different positions within the social system of the factory are important elements in shaping the meaning of work in teams and thus the performance of these teams.
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) sensemakin
teamwork
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Social anthropology/ethnography::Social anthropology
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/5349 (link to this page)

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