Local histories and local sensemaking: a case of policy implementation in the English National Health Service

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Anna Coleman National Primary Care Research and Development Centre, University of Manchester, UK

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Kath Checkland National Primary Care Research and Development Centre, University of Manchester, UK

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Stephen Harrison National Primary Care Research and Development Centre, University of Manchester, UK

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Urara Hiroeh National Primary Care Research and Development Centre, University of Manchester, UK

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Central policies that are only loosely specified might be expected to result in local variations in interpretation and implementation, and practice-based commissioning in the English National Health Service (NHS) is no exception. We show how local ‘sensemaking’ in relation to this policy has been influenced by local histories and by conceptual schemata derived from earlier reorganisations of the NHS. Changes to organisational formalities do not necessarily, therefore, result in reappraisals of sensemaking on the part of local actors. We also employ our data to address issues raised by commentators critical of the way the concept of sensemaking has been previously employed.

Anna Coleman National Primary Care Research and Development Centre, University of Manchester, UK

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Kath Checkland National Primary Care Research and Development Centre, University of Manchester, UK

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Stephen Harrison National Primary Care Research and Development Centre, University of Manchester, UK

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Urara Hiroeh National Primary Care Research and Development Centre, University of Manchester, UK

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Policy & Politics
Advancing knowledge in public and social policy