Sense-making is a continuous social process by which people come to both understand and shape their environments, explaining complex situations through plausible narratives that are then adopted and refined by others.

It’s how groups of people navigate uncertainty, and incorporate subjective knowledge into the organisational whole.

In this series of articles I’m exploring ideas around sense-making, and attempting to make it useful for a wider audience than the academics, psychologists and technologists who have primarily explored it so far.

Articles in the series

Introduction and overview

Sense-making terminology

  • Volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity
  • Sufficiency
  • Abduction
  • Enabling constraints and governing constraints

Tools and frameworks

  • Narrative inquiry
  • Sensemaking for the rest of us
  • Weick's seven properties
  • Naturalistic decision-making
  • James Thompson's typology of decision making
  • Cynefin
    • A history
    • Tools within Cynefin
  • Morphological analysis
  • ICAS theory

Key figures

  • Karl Weick
  • Gary Klein
  • Brenda Dervin
  • Dave Snowden
  • Kathleen Sutcliffe