Lonely at the Top? CEO sensemaking in the boardroom

Athanasopoulou, Andromachi; Smets, Michael; Risi, David; Morris, Tim (2020). Lonely at the Top? CEO sensemaking in the boardroom Academy of Management Proceedings, 2020(1), p. 20409. 10.5465/AMBPP.2020.20409abstract

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)

midst the uncertainty and ambiguity characterizing CEO’s role, issues or events that are “novel, ambiguous, confusing, or in some other way violate expectations” (Maitlis & Christianson, 2014: 57) mobilize CEOs to seek information and to challenge their - and others’ - understanding. Drawing on in-depth qualitative interviews with 146 global CEOs, we conduct a micro-level analysis of how CEOs seek, process and make sense of information via their interactions with the TMT and others as part of their decision-making process. We explore the interchangeable and power-charged process of sensedemanding and sensemaking through which meaning-making and eventually decision-making occur. The process involves CEOs (nominally) conceding some of their power and voice to others, before retaining them prior to making a decision. CEOs invite dissension and hence, also invite multivocality (and as a result also equivocality) from their environment and seek to test or validate sensemaking and crystalize it into decisions. Our findings unpack the micro-dynamics of CEO decision-making drawing on the CEO-TMT interface, managerial cognition and decision-making literatures."

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


Business School > Institute for Innovation and Strategic Entrepreneurship
Business School > Institute for Sustainable Business


Athanasopoulou, Andromachi;
Smets, Michael;
Risi, David0000-0003-1652-8806 and
Morris, Tim






David Risi

Date Deposited:

06 Oct 2020 07:07

Last Modified:

18 Jul 2023 21:46

Publisher DOI:




Actions (login required)

View Item View Item
Provide Feedback