Seminar 8

Organizational Storytelling Seminar 8 took place at the University of Southampton5 May 2006. It was intended principally for doctoral students, researchers and practitioners who are at an early stage of their research careers, and practitioners about to embark on using narrative methods within their organisations. It took the form of a Panel Session, in which experienced researchers discussed (and disagreed about!) aspects of storytelling research. An important objective was to link researchers into informal networks with other researchers, and to provide a forum for debate about practical and theoretical issues.

8th Organizational Storytelling Seminar

Doctoral Workshop
Friday 5th May 2006
University of Southampton

Seminar Report

Aims and Objectives

This seminar was the eighth in an informal series of seminars for academics and practitioners engaged in, or researching about, organisational storytelling.

This seminar was intended principally for doctoral students, researchers and practitioners who are at an early stage of their research careers, and practitioners about to embark on using narrative methods within their organisations. It took the form of a Panel Session, in which experienced researchers discussed (and disagreed about!) aspects of storytelling research. An important objective was to link researchers into informal networks with other researchers, and to provide a forum for debate about practical and theoretical issues.

Attendees

There were 23 registrations, from seven universities and two non-academic institutions (including one from Holland). There were five panel members; Andrew Brown (University of Bath), Con Connell (University of Southampton), Yiannis Gabriel (Royal Holloway, University of London), Jonathan Klein (University of Southampton) and David Sims (City University).

Structure of the Seminar

The seminar took the form of a Panel Session, structured around the following themes:-

  • Giving “research legitimacy” to the storytelling approach. How stories feature in the life of organizations, including those dominated by audits and statistics, and how even audits and statistics turn into narratives.
  • Marrying-up the “individual” narrative to the “organisational” narratives
  • Different methods of using stories in organizational research, including their collection and “analysis”, together with reflections of key issues such as trust and ethics, authenticity and validity.

Much of the day was focussed around small-group sessions. Students had been invited to undertake some preparatory work prior to attending the seminar, and this was discussed in the context of the day’s themes. The day ended with the panel attempting to reach some consensus during a question-and-answer session.

Learning outcomes

Delegates were given feedback forms to complete. The feedback received from the event was overwhelming positive, including the following observations:-

“… such an inspiring and successful event.”

“… really good day….”

“… left me with lots of new ideas and inspirations…”

“The conference was excellent.”

“… the organisation was great…”

“… a great learning event which I have very much appreciated…interesting and innovative.”

“… certainly the best seminar I have been to……”

“… thought-provoking and inspiring discussions….”

“… extremely helpful panel….”

“… Chance to discuss with others, especially informally….”

Delegates were also invited to give ideas about what they would like to see changed for future similar events:-

“… more time, more structure in group discussion.”

“… more documentation, especially on the website, about speaker profiles and publications.”

“… more worked examples of how the methodology:-

a) translates into questions ‘in the field’;

b) is analysed for meaningful outcomes”.