I know where I’m going: Sensemaking and the emergence of calling

Jane Sturges, Mike Clinton, Neil Conway, Alexandra Budjanovcanin

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This paper draws on the concept of sensemaking to explore the process of the emergence of a calling. Important elements of the calling process are identified: the calling process was initiated when research participants construed unusual events and experiences as cues that made them begin to think that they might have a calling; cues initiated sensemaking, as participants engaged in interpretation and action, to try to clarify what they meant. The socio-material context of the calling domain and participants’ identity were shown both to influence and be influenced by participant’s sensemaking regarding their calling. The findings highlight that the emergence of a calling is an evolving process of sensemaking, characterized by interactions between extracted cues, interpretation and action, context and identity. While the paper examines a distinctive calling - to be a minister of religion – it seems plausible that the aspects of the calling process that it identifies may also be important in the development of other kinds of callings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Early online date25 Feb 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Feb 2019


  • Calling; Sensemaking; Career; Vocation

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