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Meaning-Making by Involuntary Reassigned Employees Open Access

Shuffling of employees is a popular method of balancing current mission requirements in fluid organizations. Employee knowledge is a valuable resource lost to downtime as employees make sense after involuntary reassignment. This study served to address the paucity of research on the sensemaking of employees who are involuntarily reassigned within their organizations. This study used meaning making theory to explore the mental models employed by eight Department of Defense employees as they made sense of being involuntarily reassigned. It identifies and describes the content of the mental schemes used by these employees to navigate their environment after the event. The Self-Q interview methodology proposed by Bougon, Baird, Komocar, and Ross, (1990) is used to elicit the constructs of tacit mental models. The major constructs of sensemaking after involuntary reassignment were Identity, Performance, Management, Others (i.e. co-workers, family, supervisors, etc.) and Emotions. Contributions to sensemaking (Weick, 1979; 1995) and adult learning theory (Mezirow, 1991; 2000) are suggested. Five implications for HRD practitioners and organizational leaders are discussed. Five recommendations for future research in theory and practice are offered.

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