Dr. Sara Barry, PhD in Leadership and Change alumna, published her dissertation entitled, Locating Uncertainty in Hospital Leader Sensemaking and Sensegiving of Organizational Change: A Single Case Study.
Leaders planning strategic change face significant ambiguity and uncertainty due to the complex, fast-paced, and volatile nature of organizational life. What one leader sees as an opportunity, another may view as a threat depending on their past experiences, their existing mental models, and their perceptions of uncertainty. Sensemaking and sensegiving theories provide a framework for how leaders retrospectively make sense of new and disorienting information through recursive cycles of interpretation, action, and learning, and seek to influence the meaning-making of others towards a shared vision of the strategic change. Despite decades of research using these theories, studies have yet to examine leaders’ perceptions of the locations of uncertainty (i.e., environmental, organizational, or individual) and how they impact leader sensemaking and sensegiving processes. Through a case study of a Vermont hospital, Barry reviewed documents and artifacts, observed meetings, interviewed leaders, and developed an understanding of the hospital’s social/political/historical/cultural context.
As a leader and change agent, Dr. Barry has focused her career on improving systems of care to achieve better health. She is a seasoned leader working to improve health systems by building and sustaining collaborative partnerships and implementing innovative payment and care delivery reforms. Dr. Barry has worked for various not-for-profit academic and healthcare organizations and currently serves as the chief operating officer of OneCare Vermont, a statewide accountable care organization of more than 5,000 healthcare providers voluntarily working together to improve the health of the population through implementation of value-based care reforms. She is an educator, facilitator, and coach having worked with hundreds of clinical teams to achieve measurable outcomes.