MGMT seminar by Claus Rerup

Organizational Fields as Interpretation Systems: Interorganizational Sensemaking and the ESTONIA Ferry Disaster

2019.10.02 | Merete Elmann

Date Tue 29 Oct
Time 13:00 14:30
Location Room 2628-M303, Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University

On Tuesday 29 October at 13:00 in room M303, our Part-time Professor Claus Rerup from the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management will give a seminar entitled

Organizational Fields as Interpretation Systems: Interorganizational Sensemaking and the ESTONIA Ferry Disaster


Abstract
We investigate the interpretive system of the Baltic ferry industry through the Estonia ferry disaster where 852 people died. Rather than focusing on the sensemaking breakdowns on the bridge of the ship during the evening of September 27th, 1994, we trace the interorganizational relationships between the organizational actors that produced those breakdowns. Although disasters are well documented, the connections between disasters and the broader organizational fields in which they are embedded has yet to be explored systematically in the sensemaking literature. We use 53 bow-door anomalies and 6 bow-door incidents that occurred over 21 years prior to the disaster to unpack the sensemaking dynamics underlying the interorganizational interpretive system. We show how three increasingly inclusive cycles of distributed updating linked the organizational actors in the industry in response to bow-door anomalies and incidents: 1) the operating cycle, 2) the maintenance cycle, and 3) the regulatory cycle. In addition, we trace the vulnerabilities in the three cycles that can occur when a vessel is transferred from one interorganizational interpretive system to another. Our study extends the disaster sensemaking literature by embedding individual disaster episodes within a broader interorganizational interpretive system of anomalies, incidents and relationships distributed across time and organizations.

Everyone is welcome!

Events