Incorporating Embodied Cognition into Sensemaking Theory: A Theoretical Integration of Embodied Processes in a Leadership Context

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Current Topics in Management

First Page


Last Page


Additional Publication URL



Despite growing recognition across a number of disciplines that cognitive processes are based in the body's interaction with the environment (e.g., Wilson, 2002), the body is afforded a negligible role in current conceptualizations of cognition in organizations. For instance, Hodgkinson and Healey's (2008) recent review of cognition in organizations makes no mention of how the body is implicated in cognitive processing. Perspectives that recognize the body's fundamental involvement in cognitive processing are referred to as embodied cognitive approaches. Embodied cognitive approaches view the representation of knowledge as dependent on brain structures involved in perception, action, and introspection rather than based on abstract semantic networks. Although embodied cognition remains largely unknown among organizational scholars (see Giessner & Schubert, 2007 or Harquail & King, 2003 for exceptions), we believe that embodied cognition is a useful theoretical perspective that can enhance our understanding of key managerial processes such as leadership. More critically, we contend that ignoring the embodied aspects of cognition creates an impoverished understanding of sensemaking processes.


The version of record can be found through WorldCat