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In the Moment: A Phenomenological Case Study of the Dynamic Nature of Awareness and Sensemaking Open Access

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Abstract of the Dissertation Sensemaking plays a central role in determining human behavior within organizations (Weick, 1979, 1995; Weick, Sutcliffe, & Obstfeld, 2005). Sensemaking is an effort to give stability to the organizational environment by paying attention to it. We pay attention and extract a particular cue, then link it with some other idea that clarifies the meaning of the cue. In essence, individuals decide what to pay attention to. The complexities of today's organizations call for an expanded view of the sensemaking process, one that takes into account the subjective, present-moment aspects of the phenomenon (Maitlis & Sonenshein, 2010). This phenomenological case study was conducted in situ at a regional healthcare system and explored how individual awareness contributes to one's ability to make senseof his or her environment, revealing the interdependent, reciprocal, and mutually constitutive processes at work in this psychosocial and biologically embodied phenomenon. Specifically, present-moment sensemaking is the confluence of awareness and intentionality; intersubjectivity is a form of intercorporality through which common meaning is created; and embodied responses, which emerge as autonomic impressions (physical and emotional responses), are reflective of the way in which sensemaking manifests in subjective experience and can be understood as embodied wisdom. This researcher developed a model of present-moment sensemaking that revealed the relationship between self-organizing, embodied wisdom, and decision making, which are the inseparable outcome of the interaction of intentional behaviors, cognitive conception, and affective perception.

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