Etablering af meningsskabelse hos ledere

Charlotte Larsen

Student thesis: Master executive thesis


The subject of the thesis is sensemaking among managers in the local municipality of Holbæk. Faced with a need to implement substantial cutbacks, Holbæk municipality initiated a new strategic called ‘Holbæk I Fællesskab’ (Holbæk Together) in 2014, followed by a new organizational model called ‘En stærk medspiller’ (A Strong Teamplayer) focused on participation, networks and communication as means to improve service delivery. In 2015, a specific strategy for managers called ’Ledelse som en stærk medspiller’ (Leadership as a strong teamplayer), based on principles of the ‘Leadership Pipeline’ concept, was put in place in order to ensure the development of the managerial competencies needed to make the overall strategy succeed. Focusing specifically on ’Aktiv Hele Livet’ (Active Through Life), a department in the municipality of Holbæk, the thesis explores the process of sensemaking related to this strategy as it takes place within the social communities surrounding the middle managers, and how this sensemaking process affects the adoption and translation of the strategy. Theoretically, this approach is inspired by Weick’s concept of sensemaking and his identification of the key characteristics in the sensemaking process. Moreover, the thesis draws on Balogun and Johnson’s work on middle managers and the importance of the daily interaction and dialogue within social communities that shape the sensemaking process. Thirdly, the thesis makes use of a translation perspective focused on the skills used by managers when translating overall strategies to specific organizational contexts. The empirical analysis shows that sensemaking, translation and usage of the strategy are closely intertwined. Sensemaking clearly affects the manager’s choice of actions and concrete initiatives related to the translation and usage of the strategy in their own departments. Moreover, the analysis shows sensemaking to be highly contingent upon the social community within which the managers interact in with employees and other middle managers. It is therefore important to acknowledge that the social communities in which the managers are embedded shape the sensemaking process and thereby affect managerial behavior and action in relation to a given strategy no matter how strong and clear the original message is.

EducationsMaster of Public Governance, (Executive Master Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages45
SupervisorsSverri Hammer