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

Ann Starbæk Bager*, John McClellan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


This chapter offers an organizational small storymaking perspective as a useful way for leaders to 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 develop a storymaking framework, with associated tools for practice, that can guide organizational leaders’ attention toward the small stories that circulate among their employees with a focus on inviting the often quiet or silenced voices into organizing processes. This move offers a means for leaders to foster open and sustainable workplaces capable of creating and maintaining useful tensions among the top-down and bottom-up dynamics of organizing. We bring an integrative view on leadership communication as deeply entangled with, and dependent upon, a specific organization’s storymaking processes. As such, the guidance we provide can help leaders improve their workplaces by attending to diverse voices and stories (both counter to and complicit with more dominant narratives) that circulate in everyday organizing practices. We argue that an organizational small storymaking framework can help leaders incorporate the polyphony of voices and organize stories in ways that will support more transparent, inclusive, ethical, and sustainable work environments. By attending to organizational small storymaking, leaders can better recognize the complexities of organizational life, promote diversity, and generate more egalitarian organizing practices.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVolume 1 : Business True Storytelling: Volume 2: Business Storytelling and Sustainability: Volume 3: Business Storytelling Communication: Volume 4: Business Storytelling, Science and Statistics: Volume 5: Business Storytelling and Grounding Methodology
EditorsKenneth Molbjerg Jorgensen
Number of pages30
Publication date2023
ISBN (Print)9789811289934
ISBN (Electronic)9789811289941
Publication statusPublished - 2023
SeriesWorld scientific Encyclopaedia of Business Storytelling


  • leadership
  • communication
  • organizational discourse
  • organizational storymaking
  • storymaking
  • small stories
  • Counter narratives
  • identity
  • dissensus-based organizations
  • Organizational Change
  • Organizational Communication
  • change communication
  • change
  • dialogic organizational discourse studies
  • narrative-small-story dynamics
  • power
  • Organizational small storymaking


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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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