Between episodes of strategy: Sociomateriality, sensemaking, and dysfunction in a scenario planning process


Scenario planning processes, which occur over multiple episodes, facilitate the development of alternative stories of the future in order to challenge current thinking and help organizations create more robust strategies. But what happens between those episodes and how does it affect the process? Utilizing a sociomaterial perspective, we examine sensemaking within and between multiple scenario planning workshops of a multi-organization strategy process. We observe both subtle changes and more blatant interventions in the production of critical materials in the spaces between workshops. Sociomateriality and sensemaking become entangled as the inputs to, and outputs from, workshops are subject to increased influence from ‘normal’ work structures as episodic and continuous sensemaking converge gradually over time.

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