15 Fascinating Karl E. Weick Quotes

Karl E. Weick is an American organizational theorist that contributed to organization studies by introducing multiple concepts of mindfulness, sensemaking, and loose coupling. With almost a dozen publications published during his life, here is a look at some of the most popular Karl E. Weick quotes ever recorded.

“A series of wins at small but significant tasks, however, reveals a pattern that may attract allies, deter opponents, and lower resistance to subsequent proposals.”

“A small win is a concrete, complete, implemented outcome of moderate importance. By itself, one small win may seem unimportant.”

“Being naive simply means that we reject received wisdom that something is a problem.”

“Generalists should be the upbeat, positive people in the profession while specialists should be their grouchy, negative counterparts.”

“Generalists, people with moderately strong attachments to many ideas, should be hard to interrupt, and once interrupted, should have weaker, shorter negative reactions since they have alternative paths to realize their plans.”

“If people have multiple identities and deal with multiple realities, why should we expect them to be ontological purists?”


“Managers construct, rearrange, single out, and demolish many ‘objective’ features of their surroundings.”

“Rank and expertise do not necessarily coincide.”

“Simply pushing harder within the old boundaries will not do.”

“Small wins are controllable opportunities that produce visible results.”

“Specifically, I would suggest that the effective organization is garrulous, clumsy, superstitious, hypocritical, monstrous, octopoid, wandering, and grouchy.”

“The real trick in highly reliable systems is somehow to achieve simultaneous centralization and decentralization.”

“We are always naive relative to some definition of the situation, and if we try to become less so, we may accept a definition that confines the definition of small wins to narrower issues than is necessary.”

“When people act they unrandomize variables, insert vestiges of orderliness, and literally create their own constraints.”

“Your beliefs are cause maps that you impose on the world, after which you ‘see’ what you have already imposed.”

Here is a Ted Talk based on sense making and semantic interaction. Focused on the areas of information visualization, exploring the use of visual data within many industries aid in advancing the education and collaboration between people.

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