Sensemaking and School Failure: Lessons from Two Cases
The analytic power of sensemaking has been widely applied throughout the organizational literature. Yet, while Weick’s (1993) seminal article on the collapse of sensemaking in organizations has been widely cited in the educational literature, it has rarely been applied to the problem of school failure in the face of organizational change. This case study analysis advances a preliminary framework for sensemaking in schools based on both Weick’s insights and newer developments in the sensemaking literature. It then explores the cases of two schools that failed in the face of change through this framework. I conclude by comparing the cases to Weick’s recommendation for group structure and resilience, and draw implications for school and district leaders to prevent school collapse in the face of planned change.
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