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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An Exploration of Emotion in the Sensemaking of Presidential News Events: Journalists Making Sense of Reporting the News
by Lee, Darnell A., Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2020, 300; 27831843
Abstract (Summary)

Research on sensemaking continues to expand the understanding of the perspective beyond organizational transformation, change, and crisis. Recent research acknowledges affective features of sensemaking in the everyday experience of organizing (Bucher et al., 2019). This phenomenological study explored the experience of emotion in the sensemaking process of journalists reporting on unexpected presidential events.

A purposeful sample was used to select participants that represented typical cases in news environments. Eight participants were selected with direct experience developing material for publication or broadcast, interacting with events, facts, ideas, and people in preparing news intended for the public. This approach of selection strengthened the relevance of the data collected and provided insight into understanding the research problem and question (Creswell, 2003, Bloomberg & Volpe, 2018).

The method of phenomenology allowed for a sensitive analysis of the experience of emotion in sensemaking. The design of this study used the Seidman (2006) qualitative interview method to capture details of lived experience and meaning. The modified Van Kaam data analysis method (Moustakas, 1994) was used to reduce and cluster units of meaning to develop textural, structural, and composite descriptions. The themes describing texture were being aware, focus, gathering content/exploring details, and responding to events. The themes describing structure were profession, environment, time, news story, and relating with others and the audience. Examples of emotion in the experience connected to sensemaking were excitement, shock, surprise, passion, challenge, frustration, fear, and anxiety.

The findings emphasize the following: emotion connected to sensemaking influences the mode of sensemaking and actions taken; context plays a role in guiding action and emotion; emotion frames relevant information used for sensemaking; temporal conditions shape the cycle and pace of sensemaking and trigger emotion; and metaphors are a resource for sensemaking and trigger a shared perception of emotion. Three conclusions emerged: (1) emotion is a resource in navigating sensemaking; (2) temporal episodes create opportunities for immanent sensemaking; and (3) enacting multiple environments increases complexity in sensemaking. Based on the findings and conclusions from this study, opportunities for theory, research, and practice were developed.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Casey, Andrea
Commitee: Schwandt, David, Meneses, Liliana
School: The George Washington University
Department: Human & Organizational Learning
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 81/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Organization Theory, Organizational behavior
Keywords: Emotion, Organizing, Sensemaking, Temporality, Unexpected events
Publication Number: 27831843
ISBN: 9798607308360
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