Sensemaking and sojourner adjustment among Korean entrepreneurs in London (UK)



Publication Details

Lowe, S., Hwang, K. & Moore, F. 2011, 'Sensemaking and sojourner adjustment among Korean entrepreneurs in London (UK)', Culture and Organization, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 31-46.


This paper takes a new look at the role of narrative construction in sojourner adjustment through a case study of two female Korean entrepreneurs (selected from interviews with 10 Korean sojourners) to best differentiate their cultural adjustment from 'culture shock' in the UK. We review the literature on culture shock, beginning with Oberg's classic modernist/foundational 'transformational' model. The limitations of this model are shown in terms of the restricted focus upon individualistic, universal cognitive stages of change experienced by the sojourner. Then the benefits afforded by applying Goffman's dramaturgy and Weick's sensemaking approach are discussed. These approaches, informed by relationalist metatheory and metamethods, focus upon persons and interaction. They provide more collective, particularistic, social constructivist lenses that incorporate emotional, symbolic, communicative and linguistic viewpoints to complement cognitive explanations. The narrative methodology employed is that of Barbara Czarniawska whose work is heavily influenced by Goffman and Weick.

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