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How Changes in Managers' Sensemaking Influences a Strategic Change

Dr. David von Laskowski

The study builds on the belief that change has become a normal state of affairs in business life, and that one highly contemporary actor - the private equity firm - has evolved to become specialized in change through repetitively changing its portfolio firms in its quest to generate value. The quest of reshaping a portfolio firm in order to optimize its strategic position, profitability, and financial structure in order to generate value has consequently been this study's starting point.

This dissertation presents how sense making, which is about the interplay of action and interpretation, changes over time and how it affects the strategic change of a portfolio firm. By studying and directly observing the communication and interaction between the portfolio firms's CEO, board, and management team in real-time during a prolonged period when change occurs at a revolutionary pace, this dissertation seeks to examine the development and influence of this sense making.

The study demonstrates how certain traits of private equity firms influence the timeline, risk profile, and governance of strategic change, how the presence of an idiosyncratic language influences the strategic change by transcending one mindset into a diametrically opposed ditto, and how the materialization of a mental iron cage affects the boundaries of the potential changes as well as adaptations and worldviews.

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