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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

A considerable body of work uses a sensemaking lens to understand identity processes in organizations. From this perspective, identities are constructed and maintained as individuals attend to, bracket, and draw on cues to enact meanings about who they are. At the same time, however, theories of identity have also been called upon to explain sensemaking. This is not surprising, since sensemaking is grounded in identity construction. As such, the two literatures have multiple, sometimes complicated, points of intersection. In this chapter, the authors explore the complex relationship between identity and sensemaking. They begin by articulating the assumptions that a sensemaking lens brings to identity. Next, they detail several ways in which the relationship between identity and sensemaking has been described in the existing literature. Then, they propose an understanding of the relationship between identity and sensemaking that integrates and extends previous research. The authors conclude by suggesting avenues for future research focused on the interplay between identity and sensemaking.

Keywords: identity, sensemaking, identity work, identification, organizations

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