20th Organizational Storytelling seminar
13 – 14 June 2013
Lincoln Business School, University of Lincoln, UK
Izak, Michal (PhD) – email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anderson, David – email: email@example.com
Hitchin, Linda (PhD) – email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Organizational life is imbued with story and story telling. What counts as a story is a matter of debate ranging from terse, polysemic and multi-authored postmodern ante-narratives (Boje, 1991, 1995), through emplotted, emotion generating narratives endowed with relatively stable meaning (Gabriel, 2000), to approaching a particular scientific paradigm as a sort of a story (Czarniawska, 1995). Theoretical and empirical developments suggests that organizational stories fulfil a range of functions such as: mapping the territory of organizational sensemaking (Wilkins, 1984); expressing deeply embedded organizational mythologies (Kostera, 2008); glorifying past and/or future (Ybema, 2010); enforcing control and resistance (Wilkins, 1983); contributing to the formation of identity (Bamberg, 2010); managing (Brown, 2003) and disseminating knowledge (Campbell, 1972); facilitating the unmanaged spaces (Gabriel, 1995).
The nature and character of stories is variously theorised. For instance stories can be non-linear and may depend on the reader’s predilection to assemble particular elements (Borges, 1962; Cortázar, 1966), including ‘stories’ told by organization theory (Burrell, 1993, 1997). Similarly, for some stories may not exist in text, but merely be assumed in the reader’s cognitive apparatus (Eco, 1979; 1994). According to other concepts stories may underpin social reality, but never reach the surface – as timely psychoanalytic reflection on the recent financial crises suggests (Stein, 2011).
Interestingly, advantage may be gained by conceiving stories as constituted or imbued with their other: untold element. Whilst organizational storytelling research has often surfaced suppressed, little told or hidden stories (Gabriel, 2008; Rhodes and Brown, 2005; Sims, 2003), the ecologies of the untold remain under exploited. Untold stories have occupied a relatively silent space in storytelling research and merit further theoretical and methodological attention.
It could be argued that the notion of the ‘untold’ is implied in seminal works, for example what of Wittgenstein’s un-played language games, Derrida’s immobilized pairs of signifiers, Lyotard’s unheard renditions, Foucault’s illegitimate discourses or Weick’s un-bracketed aspects of ‘reality’.
In this call we encourage direct reflection on the work and meaning of untold stories in a social and organizational context. Acknowledging debates around the notion of criticality in organization studies (Grey and Wilmott, 2005; Alvesson and Willmott, 2011; Alvesson and Spicer, 2011), contributions are sought that respond to or extend established analytic boundary between political and not political; managed and unmanaged; established and emergent; heteroglossic and monologic. In particular we would welcome the discussion focused on, but not limited to, the following topics:
• Can untold stories be informative and/or performative? How?
• Which processes contribute to un-telling, stories?
• How does the non-performance of the story occur?
• Which strategies can be employed by the listener of the stories that are not told? What is the role of the teller in this case?
• Can untold stories be accessed?
• Has ‘the audience’ been sufficiently theorized and problematized in organizational storytelling?
• Untold situated stories: such as organizational change, learning processes, personnel development
• Hermeneutics of un-telling
Registration details will be available from www.lincoln.ac.uk/untoldstories in November 2012.
Exceptional papers will be published in the special issue of Tamara Journal for Critical Organization Inquiry
Alvesson, M. and Spicer, A. (2012) 'Critical Leadership Studies', Human Relations, 65(3): 367-390
Bamberg, M. (2010) ‘Who am I? Narration and its contribution to self and identity’, Theory and Psychology, 21(1):1–22
Borges, L. (1962) Ficciones. New York: Grove Press
Brown, A. D. (2003) ‘Authoritative Sensemaking in a Public Inquiry Report’, Organization Studies, 25(1): 95–112
Burrel, G. (1993) Eco and the bunnymen. In Hassard & M. Parker (Eds.), Postmodernism and organizations. 71-82. Newbury Park: Sage.
Boje, D. M. (1991) ‘The storytelling organization: A study of story performance in an office supply firm’, Administrative Science Quarterly, 36:106-126
Boje, D. M. (1995) ‘Stories of the storytelling organization: A postmodern analysis of Disney as 'Tamara Land'’, Academy of Management Review, 38(4):997-1035
Burrell, G. (1997) Pandemonium: Towards a Retro-Organization Theory. London: Sage
Campbell, J. (1972/1988b) The Inner Reaches of Outer Space: Metaphor as Myth and as Religion. New York–Cambridge–Philadelphia–San Fransisco–London–Mexico City–Sao Paolo–Singapore–Sydney: Harper and Row.
Clegg, S.R. (1993) Narrative, power and social theory, in D.K. Mumby (Ed.) Narrative and social control: Critical perspectives. 16-45, Newbury Park: Sage.
Cortázar, J. (1966) Hopscotch. New York: Pantheon
Czarniawska-Joerges, B. (1995) 'Narration or science? Collapsing the division in organization studies', Organization, 2(1):11–33
Eco, U. (1979) Lector in Fabula, Paris: Grasset
Eco, U. (1994) Six walks in the Fictional Woods. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Gabriel, Y. (1995) ‘The Unmanaged Organization: Stories, Fantasies and Subjectivity’, Organization Studies, 16(3):477-501
Gabriel, Y. (2000) Storytelling in organizations: Facts, fictions, fantasies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Gabriel, Y. (2008) Organizing Words: A Critical Thesaurus for Social and Organization Studies, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Grey, C. and Willmott, H.C. (2005), Critical Management Studies: A Reader, Oxford University Press
Kostera, M. (2008) ‘Introduction to the Trilogy: Mythologies of Organizational Everyday Life’ in: Kostera, M. (ed.) Organizational Olympians: Heroes, heroines and villains of organizational myths. London: Palgrave Macmillan
Martin, J., Feldman, M. S., Hatch, M. J., and Sitkin, S. B. (1983) ‘The uniqueness paradox in organizational stories’, Administrative Science Quarterly, 28:438-453
Rhodes, C., and Brown, A. D. (2005) ‘Narrative, organizations and research’, International Journal of Management Reviews, 7(3):167-188.
Sims, D. (2003) ‘Between the millstones: A narrative account of the vulnerability of middle managers' storying’, Human Relations, 56(10):1195-1211.
Stein, M. (2011) ‘A culture of mania: a psychoanalytic view of the incubation of the 2008 credit crisis’, Organization, 18(2):173–186
Weick, K. E. (1979) The Social Psychology of Organizing. New York: Random House
Alvesson, M. and Wilmott, H. (2011) Critical Management Studies. London: Sage
Ybema, S. (2004) ‘Managerial postalgia; projecting a golden future’, Journal of Management Psychology, 19(8): 825-40
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