Journal of Intercultural Communication, issue 10, December 2005

Ajay K. Ojha

Sensemaking and Identity Development: Different Fields, Similar Processes, but How?


The following article examines sensemaking and the minority/majority identity development models as processual theories. While these theories are offered in different concentrations of Speech Communication (i.e., Organizational Communication and Intercultural Communication respectively), they are actually interrelated concepts that share similarities. Sensemaking is a process where individuals attempt to understand unknown elements because of unfamiliar/uncertain situations. Identity development is very similar to sensemaking because we have to make sense of who we are in everyday life through unfamiliarity. Sensemaking and identity development are two similar theories that impact our identity/identities within organizations. In order to articulate this connection further, I explain sensemaking and the minority/majority identity development models. I also synthesize sensemaking and minority/majority identity development noting other relevant theories.

Keywords Intercultural communication, identity development, organizational communication, sensemaking

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