Professor Saku Mantere receives 2015 Best Published Paper in Organization and Management Theory

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Professor Saku Mantere wins the 2015 Best Published Paper in Organization and Management Theory for his paper "The contraction of meaning: The combined effect of communication, emotions and materiality on sensemaking in the Stockwell shooting” with co-authors Joep P. Cornelissen and Eero Vaara.

Winning the Best Published OMT Paper is a significant achievement.  The award, which has been in existence since 2010, recognizes a journal paper published in the previous year that advances our theoretical understanding of organizations, organizing, and management.  A committee of OMT members who are editorial board members and senior scholars selected your paper from among all those published in 8 major journals during 2015, as accomplishing that aim.

"The contraction of meaning: The combined effect of communication, emotions and materiality on sensemaking in the Stockwell shooting”

Authors: Cornelissen, Joep P., Mantere, S. and Vaara, E.

Abstract: 

In this paper, we seek to understand how individuals, as part of a collective, commit themselves to a single, and possibly erroneous, frame, as a basis for sensemaking and coordinated actions. Using real-time data from an anti-terrorist police operation that led to the accidental shooting of an innocent civilian, we analyse how individual actors framed their circumstances in communication with one another and how this affected their subsequent interpretations and actions as events unfolded. Our analysis reveals, first, how the collective commitment to a framing of a civilian as a terrorist suicide bomber was built up and reinforced across episodes of collective sensemaking. Second, we elaborate on how the interaction between verbal communication, expressed and felt emotions, and material cues led to a contraction of meaning. This contraction stabilized and reinforced the overall framing at the exclusion of alternative interpretations. With our study we extend prior sensemaking research on environmental enactment and the escalation of commitment and elaborate on the role of emotions and materiality as part of sensemaking.

Read the full paper: Journal of Management Studies, January 15, 2014.