Leadership and Organizational Small Storymaking: Inviting Employee Engagement and Engendering Open and Sustainable Workplaces

Ann Starbæk Bager, John McClellan

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    This entry offers a dissensus-based approach to organizational small storymaking that, when embraced by organizational leaders, can generate more open and sustainable work environments. Grounded in the notion that organizations are continuously (re)constituted in the discursive practices of everyday organizational life, we elaborate a storymaking framework, with associated tools for practice, that can guide organizational leaders to pay attention to the small stories that circulate among their employees with a focus on inviting the quiet or silenced voices into organizing processes. This move offers a means to foster open and sustainable communication environments capable of creating and maintaining useful tensions among top-down and bottom-up dynamics of organization. We bring an integrative view on leadership communication as deeply entangled with and dependent upon a specific organizations’ communicative and storymaking processes. As such, the tools we provide can help leaders to tune in on the diverse voices and stories (both counter to and complicit with more dominant narratives) that circulate in everyday organizing practices. We argue that a small storymaking framework can help leaders incorporate the polyphony of voices and organizing stories in ways that will support more transparent, inclusive ethical and sustainable work environments and communication milieus. On this note, we review the communicative and ethical responsibilities organizational leaders must consider if they are to harvest the small stories in their close communication environments in ways that will promote organizational diversity and more egalitarian organizing practices (cf. Bakhtinian answerability, Bakhtin, 1993).
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalWorld scientific Encyclopaedia of Business Storytelling
    Number of pages30
    Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2. Jul 2022


    • leadership
    • communication
    • organizational discourse
    • organizational storymaking
    • storymaking
    • small stories
    • Counter narratives
    • identity
    • dissensus-based organizations
    • Organizational Change
    • Organizational Communication
    • change communication


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    • International Communication Association

      Ann Starbæk Bager (Organizer), John G McClellan (Organizer), Consuelo Vasquez (Panel member), Erin McClellan (Panel member), Frédérique Routhier (Panel member), Nicolas Bercherki (Panel member), Sanne Frandsen (Panel member), Deborah Horlait (Participant), Francois Lambotte (Panel member), Peter Kastberg (Panel member), Anna Stöber (Panel member) & Dennis Schoeneborn (Panel member)

      26. May 202230. May 2022

      Activity: Attending an eventConference organisation or participation


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