Dialectical Discursive Storytelling in Organizational Transformations

Ann Starbæk Bager, Marita Susanna Svane

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review


For the panel: A discourse activist perspective on Organizational Storytelling The paper conceptualizes counter-narratives from a ‘dialectical dialogical’ perspective (Gurevitch, 2001) and discusses its potential as performative in (re)shaping organizations and in (re)constituting organizational subjectivities. The paper discusses a combination of Bambergs (2006) take on small stories with an emphasis on how subjects co-create stories and identities in situ together with Boje’s triad storytelling frame-work composed by discursive narrative, counter-narratives, living stories and ante-narrative (Boje, 2016a, 2016b). These perspectives are useful in order to enrich our understanding of the concept counter-narrative: “the counter-narratives only make sense in relation to something else, that they are countering. The very name identifies it as an oppositional category, in tension with an-other category” (Andrews, 2004, according to Frandsen, Kuhn, & Lundholt, 2016). We discuss the role of small stories and counter-narrative in transforming organizations. We fur-ther discuss its potential as counter-discursive resources for ‘reflexively undoing’ (Riach et. al, 2016, drawing on Judith Butler) the fixed narrative categorizations of the organizational lifeworld and subjectivities. To address the transformational performativity of dialectical discursive storytelling, we follow Tsoukas’ poetic praxeology (2017) according to which practitioners are viewed as agents not only embedded in and shaped by organizational storytelling practices but also as active re-constituents through experience, (self-)reflexivity, and sensemaking. The paper suggests further research of the potential of dialectical discursive storytelling as a performative research practice apt for or-ganizational cultural transformation through ‘reflexivity in action’ (Cunliffe & Coupland, 2011; Cunliffe, 2003) and Butler’s‘reflexive undoing’. Andrews, M. (2004). Opening to the original contributions. In M. Bamberg, M; Andrews (Ed.), Considering Counter-Narratives: Narrating, Resisting, Making Sense (pp. 1–6). Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/books?hl=da&lr=&id=RgZZ_wRRtqYC&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=opening+to+the+original+contribution+molly&ots=AY4_FqWN0j&sig=L9Hh3xY8oeXsZyRq5cXgDFZ5UlE Bamberg, M.G. (1997). Positioning between structure and performance. Journal of Narrative and Life History, 7(1-4): 335–342. Bamberg, M. & Andrews, M. (2004a). Considering Counter-Narratives : Narrating, Resisting, Mak-ing Sense (preface). Amsterdam, NLD: John Benjamins Publishing Company. Bamberg, M. (2004b). Talk, small stories, and adolescent identities. Human Development, 47, 366–369. Bamberg, M. (2006). Stories: Big or small: Why do we care?. Narrative Inquiry 16(1): 139–147. Bamberg, M. & Georgakopoulou, A. (2008). Small stories as a new perspective in narrative and identity analysis. Text & Talk - An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse Communi-cation Studies 28(3): 377–396. Boje, D. M. (2016a). Dialectical Storytelling: Transitioning University into Respecting Hawk Rights to Reproduce and Have their Family in a Posthumanist World. Boje, D. M. (2016b). The Dialectic Storytelling of the Standing Conference for Management and Organization Inquiry (sc’MOI ) as it Dismembers and Re-members. Tamara Journal of Critical Organisation Inquiry, 14(1), 53. Cunliffe, A., & Coupland, C. (2011). From hero to villain to hero: Making experience sensible through embodied narrative sensemaking. Human Relations, 65(1), 63–88. Cunliffe, A. L. (2003). Reflexive Inquiry in Organizational Research: Questions and Possibilities. Human Relations, 56(8), 983–1003. Frandsen, S., Kuhn, T., & Lundholt, M. W. (2016). Counter-narratives and organization. Counter-Narratives and Organization. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315681214 Gurevitch, Z. (2001). Dialectical dialogue: the struggle for speech, repressive silence, and the shift to multiplicity. The British Journal of Sociology, 52(52), 87–104. https://doi.org/10.1080/00071310020023046 Riach, K., Rumens, N., & Tyler, M. (2016). Towards a Butlerian methodology: Undoing organizational performativity through anti-narrative research. Human Relations, 0(0 (20 may 2016)), 1–21. https://doi.org/10.1177/0018726716632050 Tsoukas, H. (2017). Don’t simplify, complexify: from disjunctive to conjunctive theorizing in organization and management studies. Journal of Management Studies, 54(2), 132–153. https://doi.org/10.1111/joms.12219
Original languageEnglish
Publication date4. Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 4. Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes
EventNordisco - Ålborg, Denmark
Duration: 17. Nov 201019. Nov 2010




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