Making sense of media synchronicity in humanitarian crises

W.J. Muhren, G.G.P. van den Eede, B.A. van de Walle

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    24 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper reintroduces concepts from sensemaking in media synchronicity theory (MST). It focuses on how media should support synchronicity to fit communication needs when making sense of a humanitarian crisis situation. Findings from interviews with senior management of humanitarian aid organizations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo show that, contrary to what is suggested by MST, low synchronicity media are not sufficient to support conveyance processes. Instead, information and communication systems should support these actors in connecting, building, and maintaining their networks of contacts. Also, information and communications systems need to be designed to support the observed sensemaking communication activities of noticing, updating, inquiring, triangulating, verifying, reflecting, enacting, and interpreting.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)377-397
    JournalIEEE Transactions on Professional Communication
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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