Bond III, Edward U.
July 2000
AMA Winter Educators' Conference Proceedings;2000, Vol. 11, p154
Conference Proceeding
Marketing plays a key role as an integrator in the interdisciplinary processes of strategy development and implementation (Day 1992; Hutt and Speh 1984). These processes cross boundaries between distinct functional thought worlds that have different views of technologies and markets, attend to different information, and gain unique insights (Dougherty 1990). Further, these processes revolve interplay between strategic choices at the corporate, business, and functional levels (Frankwick, et al. 1994). In order to be effective in this dynamic environment, marketing managers must be able to make sense of behaviors and events that arise from a wide range of constituents acting from highly divergent perspectives. Marketing managers face opportunities for sensemaking when they encounter uncertainty or ambiguity (Weick 1995). In an uncertain situation, one is unable to make sense because of too little information. Ambiguity, on the other hand, occurs when one has data, but the data is open to multiple interpretations. When a marketing manager encounters ambiguity or uncertainty, a set of cognitive processes provide input to yield an outcome of sense or nonsense. Sense does not imply a static, final view of the world. Rather, it implies that the process of sensemaking continues and plausible explanations of the environment are created — although they are subject to amendment due to the ongoing nature of sensemaking. The key concept is that the outcome "sense" happens on-the-spot. Nonsense is a condition in which a plausible explanation of the event is not created at the time. Given that the event is important enough to create significant unrest and that a resolution is not immediate, nonsense situations encourage active search for assistance in lowering residual uncertainty, ambiguity, or both. Two cognitive processes may provide a foundation for sensemaking: self-categorization and shared beliefs among organizational subgroups.


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