Sparr, Jennifer L.

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Sparr
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Jennifer L.
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Giving and Making Sense About Change : The Back and Forth Between Leaders and Employees

2018-02, Kraft, Anna, Sparr, Jennifer L., Peus, Claudia

Purpose
Leader sensegiving—the attempt to affect employees’ sensemaking—is a crucial leadership activity during organizational change. Yet, it is unclear how employee sensemaking and leader sensegiving vary across different change phases: Although addressing employee needs is key for successful sensegiving, current literature remains vague about how leaders account for different employee needs over the course of a change process.

Design/Methodology/Approach
Data were obtained from an interview study with organizational members who underwent episodic change. To integrate both perspectives, interviews were conducted with leaders (n = 26) and employees (n = 29). Data were analyzed using template analysis.

Findings
Our analysis revealed and confirmed different sensemaking needs and respective sensegiving foci in each change phase. During exploration, leaders respond to employees’ need for reassurance with receptive sensegiving. During preparation, leaders show participative sensegiving to answer employees’ need for orientation. During implementation, leaders’ compensating sensegiving responds to employees’ need for balance. During evaluation, leaders’ evaluative sensegiving accounts for employees’ need for acknowledgment. Each sensegiving mode is associated with a specific set of discursive and symbolic strategies in each phase.

Implications
This study provides a systematic framework on how leaders can respond successfully to employee sensemaking needs in each change phase using different discursive and symbolic sensegiving strategies.

Originality/Value
The study enhances our understanding of development in sensemaking and sensegiving by outlining the specific interlocking between both processes within the different change phases. Furthermore, it outlines how the relevant sensegiving modes can be obtained through particular symbolic and discursive strategies.

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Führung öffnet kreative Freiräume : Interview mit Sabine Boerner und Jennifer Sparr

2015, Boerner, Sabine, Sparr, Jennifer L.

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How Leaders Can Get the Most Out of Formal Training : The Significance of Feedback-Seeking and Reflection as Informal Learning Behaviors

2017-03, Sparr, Jennifer L., Knipfer, Kristin, Willems, Friederike

An important area for human resource development (HRD) research is the interrelated nature of different types of workplace learning. In our research, we studied feedback-seeking and reflection as informal, proactive learning behaviors in the transfer of formal training in the context of global leadership development programs. Thus, we add to our knowledge about how learners can transfer and extend formal training into informal workplace learning. In a partially mixed-method field investigation, we first explored triggers and characteristics, as well as the outcomes of feedback-seeking and reflection. Second, we investigated their predictive and mutually reinforcing effect on transfer of training. Integrated results from a qualitative interview study (Study 1, n = 15) and a quantitative survey study (Study 2, n = 60, comprising n = 15 participants from Study 1 and n = 45 additional participants) support the hypotheses that feedback-seeking and reflection are both relevant facilitators of transfer of training. In addition, Study 2 reveals that transfer of training was highest when both feedback-seeking and reflection were high, supporting our interaction hypothesis. This research extends the understanding of the importance of informal learning activities following formal training. Based on our results, we advocate that learners in their posttraining phase be engaged in both feedback-seeking and reflection to enhance their transfer of training. Further implications for human resource development research and practice are discussed.

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Führend Wissen schaffen : Mehr als Einzelmaßnahmen ; Zur Bedeutung professioneller Führung

2012, Peus, Claudia, Sparr, Jennifer L., Knipfer, Kristin, Schmid, Ellen

Die Vorbereitung und Weiterbildung in den Bereichen Führung und Management in deutschen Wissenschaftsorganisationen ist meist noch wenig entwickelt. Die Professur für Forschungs- und Wissenschaftsmanagement an der Technischen Universität München (TUM) erforscht, wie Hochschulen und Forschungseinrichtungen noch effizienter und innovativer arbeiten können. Eines der zentralen Themen ist dabei das Thema Führung. Die gewonnenen Erkenntnisse fließen direkt in die praktische Gestaltung und Weiterentwicklung von Führungs- und Managementkompetenzen ein - basierend auf drei Säulen: wissenschaftliche Evidenz, spezifischer Bedarf der Zielgruppen und Ausrichtung auf das strategische Leitbild.

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The Critical Role of Moderators in Leader Sensegiving : A Literature Review

2015, Kraft, Anna, Sparr, Jennifer L., Peus, Claudia

Change initiatives entail a high risk of failure if leaders cannot convey the underlying sense to employees. However, the effectiveness of leader sensegiving depends on external as well as internal factors. Moderators of the leader sensegiving process represent a critical but underexplored factor of sensegiving during organizational change. We derive a theoretical model of contextual factors by reviewing existing sensegiving literature. Drawing on information-processing theory, we highlight the influence of crucial moderators at the organizational and individual levels during two phases of the sensegiving process: in the first phase, moderators affect how leaders set up sensegiving; in the second phase, moderators affect how employees engage in sensemaking. The moderators in the first phase are (a) schema consistency at the organizational level and (b) legitimate power at the individual level. During the second phase, the moderating effect of (c) schema consistency at the organizational level and (d) employee emotions at the individual level is explored. We contribute to literature by demonstrating how moderators affect sensegiving during organizational change at two phases of the process and providing a multi-level perspective by distinguishing between moderators at the organizational and individual levels.