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Stories from the end of the world: in search of plots for a failing system
University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Business Studies. Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5303-5544
2020 (English)In: Journal of Organizational Change Management, ISSN 0953-4814, E-ISSN 1758-7816, Vol. 33, no 1, p. 66-82Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to consider three types of stories: media, personal accounts and fiction, and look for plots depicting situations of fundamental shift in the framing and basic definitions of reality. The authors examine them from the point of view of their usefulness for developing creative responses to systemic change. Design/methodology/approach: The authors conducted a narrative study in three stages, aimed at identifying strong plots pertaining to systemic change. The analyzed material came from three different sources of narratives (fiction, media and creative stories) and was approached by the use of two different narrative methods: symbolic interpretation and narrative collage. Findings: Currently many voices are being raised that the authors are living in times of interregnum, a period in between working systems. There is also a mounting critique of the business school as an institution perpetuating dysfunctional ideologies, rather than enhancing critical and creative thinking. The authors propose that the humanities, and, in particular, learning from fiction (and science fiction) can offer a language to talk about major (systemic) change help and support learning about alternative organizational realities. Research limitations/implications: The study pertains to discourse and narratives, not to material aspects of culture construction. Practical implications: Today, there is a mounting critique of business schools and their role in society. Following Martin Parker’s call to transform them into schools of organizing, helping to develop and discuss different alternatives instead of reproducing the dominant model, the authors suggest that education should be based, to much larger extent than until now, on the humanities. The authors propose educational programmes including the study of fiction and film. Social implications: The authors propose that the humanities (and the study of fiction) can equip society with a suitable language to discuss and problematize systemic change. Originality/value: This paper adds to narrative social studies through providing an analysis of strong plots showing ways of coping with systemic collapse, and through an examination of these plots’ significance for organizational education, learning, and planning. The authors present an argument for the broader use of fiction as a sensemaking, teaching, and learning tool for managing organizations in volatile environments.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2020. Vol. 33, no 1, p. 66-82
Keywords [en]
Fiction, Interregnum, Narratives, Stories, Strong plots, Systemic change
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Politics, Economy and the Organization of Society
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-39575DOI: 10.1108/JOCM-02-2019-0050ISI: 000510814700005Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85075011824OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-39575DiVA, id: diva2:1377295
Available from: 2019-12-11 Created: 2019-12-11 Last updated: 2020-02-28Bibliographically approved

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Kostera, Monika

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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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  • harvard-anglia-ruskin-university
  • apa-old-doi-prefix.csl
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