Emergent Organizing in Crisis: US Nurses’ Sensemaking and Job Crafting During COVID-19

Surabhi Sahay, Maria Dwyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Crisis situations may render some roles meaningless or modify the meanings of existing roles. In general, employees participate in job crafting to alter or redefine their tasks and relationships to enhance their meaningfulness. Drawing on Weick’s sensemaking theory, this article explores how nurses working directly with COVID-19 patients participate in job crafting amid a pandemic crisis. It proposes an iterative conceptual framework in which sensemaking via the cycle of enactment, selection, and retention informs job crafting, thus contributing to emergent organizing. This enactment of emergent organizing provides fodder for further sensemaking, which highlights the symbiotic relationship between sensemaking and job crafting. Practically speaking, in order to facilitate sensemaking, job crafting, and organizing, management must acknowledge and impart flexibility, and must be open to impromptu thinking by nurses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)546-571
Number of pages26
JournalManagement Communication Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management


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