Department of Management

Making sense of grand challenges through the design of communicative spaces

Research output: Working paperResearchpeer-review

When making sense of issues, actors face the puzzle of how to balance the requisite variety demanded by problem with the equivocality that can arise due to the variety of perspectives required. This is especially problematic in the case of grand challenges due to their abundance and high interrelatedness of cues demand high levels of requisite variety leading to high equivocality. This research asks how actors use boundary work to complexify and simplify the space for making sense of grand challenges. We engage in a comparative case study of two municipalities engaged in smart city projects looking at the inter-organizational meetings and workshops that they set up to make sense of complex problems. We find that actors use different types of boundary work to simplify, complexify but also simplexify the space. We also identify different temporal patterns of boundary work that have distinct implications for the sensemaking outcomes. These findings have implications for the literature on sensemaking, space and grand challenges.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusIn preparation - 2019

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