Previous organizational research on decoupling in the context of socio-environmental governance has suggested a trade-off between compliance and goal achievement, meaning that remedying the decoupling of policies and practices tends to jeopardize efforts to remedy the decoupling of means and ends. We expand on previous research on the trade-off between compliance and goal achievement by examining the spatiotemporal processes of sensemaking by which the meaning of compliance and achievement is negotiated among multiple actors. Taking a qualitative analytical approach we examine the evolution of anti-corruption policies at Siemens and affiliated actors, and describe how different anti-corruption narratives have developed over time at different locations and how they have been linked to each other. We explain that through narration actors develop a shared understanding of what it means to be compliant and successful and elaborate how the apparent tension between compliance and goal achievement is dissolved through story-telling. Our study contributes to decoupling re-search by examining the ideational-communicative dynamics underlying the social deconstruction of the compliance-achievement gap.