From What to Where: A setting-sensitive approach to organizational storytelling
journal contributionposted on 2023-07-26, 14:33 authored by Merlijn van Hulst, Sierk Ybema
Extant literature on organizational storytelling assumes storytelling to be context-bound, but does not empirically detail or theorize how storytelling might differ across organizational settings. In the context of members’ everyday work lives, organizational storytelling research tends to focus on the content of stories and not on the actual telling. By addressing this omission, this paper makes three contributions. First, we offer a generic framework for analysing storytelling in situ by zooming in on the situated occurrence of storytelling through a focus on four questions: (1) What makes an event tellable? (2) What triggers its telling? (3) What form does the storytelling take? (4) What work does it do? By using ethnographic data gathered on storytelling in everyday police work, we empirically substantiate this framework. Our second contribution, then, is to show how a setting-specific approach to studying storytelling may help to flesh out a fuller, more grounded account of story life in organizations. Finally, we propose a typology of different forms of setting-specific discourse – meeting-room talk, workstation talk, canteen talk and closed-door talk – which allows researchers to further sensitize organizational research to the situated nature of organizational discourse.
Publication titleOrganization Studies
- Published version