Sensemaking: What it is and why it matters to organisations


What is sensemaking?

Sensemaking or sense-making “is the process through which individuals work to understand novel, unexpected or confusing events.” (Dyer 2016) or experiences. In other words the process of sense-making is the practice of working out what meanings people are attributing to their experiences. Sense making  gives a clear idea as to what the prevailing beliefs, thinking and actions are likely to be of those individuals and groups.

Additionally, sensemaking research methods enables organisations to see areas of agreement and conflict, especially at a cultural level.

Sense making theory

Sensemaking is a growing area of research with over 124,000 (as at 2017) research papers published on the topic.


Dyer, R. (2016) Cultural sense-making integration into risk mitigation strategies towards megaproject success. International Journal of Project Management


Disclaimer: This is a research review, expert interpretation and briefing. As such it contains other studies, expert comment and practitioner advice. It is not a copy of the original study – which is referenced. The original study should be consulted and referenced in all cases. This research briefing is for informational and educational purposes only. We do not accept any liability for the use to which this review and briefing is put or for it or the research accuracy, reliability or validity. This briefing as an original work in its own right and is copyright © Oxford Review Enterprises Ltd 2016-2019. Any use made of this briefing is entirely at your own risk.

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