Sensemaking and implications for information systems design: Findings from the Democratic Republic of Congo's ongoing crisis

  • Muhren W
  • van den Eede G
  • van de Walle B
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Abstract

The main theoretical concept underlying this contribution is that of Sensemaking, a meta- cognitive framework that can be used to get a grip on the equivocal external environment and its proneness to multiple interpretations. Sensemaking addresses the following questions: “What is happening out there?,”“Why is it taking place?,” and “What does it mean?” (Choo, 1998; Dervin, 1983; Weick, 1995). For many years—and to a certain extent still today— the Sensemaking concept has remained undiscovered by mainstream literature. Largely under the impulse of organizational learning research, Sensemaking is however receiving increasing attention from scholars in organization theory. This should notcomeas a surprise, as the process of improving action through better knowledge and understanding is integrally connected to Sensemaking (Nathan, 2004). As such, Sensemaking provides us with a lens to observe and understand how information is processed within and among organizations, and Sensemaking characteristics will therefore bear on the design of information systems in general and within the context of the DRC in particular.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Crisis management
  • Decision making
  • Developing country
  • Information processing
  • Information systems design
  • Interorganizational network
  • Sensemaking

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Authors

  • Willem Muhren

  • Gerd van den Eede

  • Bartel van de Walle

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