Research Output

Sensemaking at entrepreneurial firms: Acknowledgment practice under uncertainty

  Acknowledgement practices represent individual or group responses to events or outcomes. Within organizational contexts, acknowledgement practices reflect sensemaking and have long term affects on firm development and success. Yet despite their importance, acknowledgement practices at small, entrepreneurial firms that operate under high levels of uncertainty remain understudied. We study the interpretation and acknowledgement of successful and failed events at entrepreneurial firms. Findings reveal novel phenomena such as event re-interpretation, success rationalization and ambivalent heroes. We report on the link between organizational events and individual affect. Further, we reveal how affect associated with acknowledgement practices leads to biases, which generates emergent characteristics within the organization. We propose a model of acknowledgment practice amidst high uncertainty at entrepreneurial firms, which links the effects of uncertainty to event interpretation, acknowledgement and emergent characteristics. Our study makes significant contributions to organizational scholarship and has important practical implications.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    01 January 2015

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    The Academy of Management

  • DOI:


  • ISSN:


  • Library of Congress:

    HD28 Management. Industrial Management

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    658 General management

  • Funders:

    The University of Edinburgh


Johnson, D., & Bock, A. J. (2015). Sensemaking at entrepreneurial firms: Acknowledgment practice under uncertainty. Proceedings - Academy of Management, 2015(1), 12638-12638.



Acknowledgement; Entrepreneur; Uncertainty

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