Andrea Jungmann, Martina Bierbichler, Birgit Peuker, Martin Voss
March 1, 2016
Sensemaking in the context of work is a multi-layered phenomenon: a phenomenon which sociology and psychology typically conjunctively view through various systems of meaning; from the level of human action all the way to institutional structures. This article will examine how these different levels interact with one another whilst also discussing which connections exist between sensemaking, occupational identity, and job motivation. The main thesis of the article is developed by taking advantage of empirical data from the everyday working experiences of airport security personnel who are entrusted with carrying out safety inspections and have access to secure locations in airports. The thesis is namely that - in the context of high reliability organizations - the overarching significance and the subjectively felt societal utility of the working task at hand are significantly pivotal in the successful construction of identity and meaning. Furthermore, sensemaking then overrides conflicts that exist at the level of interaction. In developing this thesis, we combine considerations from sociological theories together with psychological theories of work and reflect upon the results of the study in connection to the various aspects of meaningful work.