Storytelling in Management Practice

Dynamics and Implications

By Stefanie Reissner, Victoria Pagan

© 2013 – Routledge

190 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415644334
pub: 2013-05-24
US Dollars$160.00

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About the Book

Since the early 2000s, storytelling as a means of managerial communication has been increasingly advocated, with a focus on the management practices of leadership, change and organizational culture. Most research on storytelling in management practice derives from practitioner experience, but little is known about the specific dynamics behind storytelling as a tool for managerial communication.

This book derives from one of the first research studies into storytelling in management practice, which sought to evaluate the assumed, but not necessarily proven, effectiveness of storytelling as a management tool. Building on existing theories of narrative and storytelling in organizations, the book explores how managers use storytelling in their daily practice, revealing that it can be employed both, purposively - like a tool, and perceptively - spontaneously and intuitively. The book explains that storytelling has different functions in management practice at different levels of the organization, such as:

  • Creating direction for the organization
  • Translating strategic messages into operational ones and supporting the professional development of staff
  • Shaping the organization’s social fabric through the sharing of personal stories

Aided by a wealth of interviews and case studies, Storytelling in Management Practice reveals an analysis of the dynamic relationship between story, storyteller, audience and organizational context. As such, it will be useful for students and researchers working across a variety of sub-disciplines, including: leadership, organizational behaviour and business communication.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Storytelling in Management Practice: Definitions, Rhetoric, Assumptions 3. Theoretical Foundations and Conceptualizations of Storytelling in Management Practice 4. Storytelling at the Macro Level: Constructing the Organization 5. Storytelling at the Meso Level: Sense Making in Organizations 6. Storytelling at the Micro Level: Weaving or Weakening the Organization's Social Fabric 7. Dynamics of Storytelling in Management Practice 8. Conclusion

About the Authors

Stefanie Reissner is Lecturer in Organization Studies at Newcastle University Business School, UK. Her research interests include narrative, sensemaking and storytelling. She has published her work in academic journals and is author of Narratives of Organisational Change and Learning: Making Sense of Testing Times (2008, Edward Elgar)

Victoria Pagan is Teaching Assistant and a PhD candidate at Newcastle University Business School, UK. Prior to this she was a research and evaluation consultant. Her research interests include organization studies and theory, power, politics, and narrative and she has co-authored work published in academic journals

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Management, Organizations and Society

Management, Organizations and Society represents innovative work grounded in new realities; addressing issues crucial to an understanding of the contemporary world. This is the world of organized societies, where boundaries between formal and informal, public and private, local and global organizations have been displaced or vanished along with other nineteenth century dichotomies and oppositions. Management, apart from becoming a specialised profession for a growing number of people, is an everyday activity for most members of modern societies. Management, Organizations and Society will address these contemporary dynamics of transformation in a manner that transcends disciplinary boundaries, with work which will appeal to researchers, students and practitioners alike.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Human Resources & Personnel Management
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Organizational Behavior