The Reflections Series - Free Access Articles Journal of Change Management

This series is called ‘Reflections,’ but what reflection means is left to the author. Reflection ‘usually implies a turning of one’s thoughts back upon or back to something that exists, has occurred, is without explanation, or the like; it implies quiet and serious consideration or study’ (Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Synonyms, 1984, p. 835). After reading that definition, my first reflection was that it basically describes the way I work when dealing with issues such as organizing (Weick, 1969), sensemaking (Weick, 1995) and managing the unexpected (Weick and Sutcliffe, 2007). I gloss (Weick, 1981) older work in order to draw attention to its contemporary relevance. Thus, my work illustrates Stinchcombe’s (1982) description of ways in which scholars use predecessors as touchstones and sources of fundamental ideas. My second reflection on that definition is that the reference to turning one’s thoughts back to something that is ‘without explanation or the like,’ describes what I think is the basic condition faced by people who manage change. They deal with experiences that are without explanation, such as when the unexpected occurs, when closer attention reveals the need to alter the speed of ongoing change or when changing itself generates moments of senselessness.

Karl E. Weick (2011, pp. 7-8)

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