Entanglements of Storytelling and Power in the Enactment of Organizational Subjectivity

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    This paper constructs a storytelling framework for understanding how people enact their subjectivities in organizations. Storytelling is presented as the practical ways in which subjectivities are made within a dispositive. Dispositive is Foucault’s concept for where power becomes concrete. It captures the ways spaces of appearance in organizations are prescribed and regulated—the spaces where human subjects appear to each other and are mutually recognized. How people become subjects is theorized through Arendt’s concept of storytelling as action, which through the work of Butler is reworked into a collective, embodied and material performance. Implications are that storytelling and power are not in a position of exteriority to one another. Instead they are closely intertwined and entangled in the fabric of everyday life. Spaces of appearance condition the enactment of subjectivity in organizations. At the same time however the enactment of subjectivity establishes always a new beginning and a reshaping of reality. The framework is illustrated by analysing stories from a management learning project. The analysis provides a window into a complex and dynamic social world and illuminates the subjects’ continuous work in finding managerial styles that works within the different historical, spatial and material conditions of being managers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAcademy of Management Annual Meeting proceedings
    Number of pages39
    PublisherAcademy of Management
    Publication date2017
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    EventAcademy of Management Annual Meeting - Atlanta, United States
    Duration: 4 Aug 20178 Aug 2017
    Conference number: 77


    ConferenceAcademy of Management Annual Meeting
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    Internet address

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