Panel proposal: A Discourse Activist Perspective on Organizational Storytelling

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


In the panel diverse discursive approaches to storytelling are discussed with special attention on their potential to foster organizational reflexivity and change. We engage methodological - theoretical, analytical and philosophical - discussions and its implications for practice. For instance, discussions on key concepts and main understandings of aspects such as narratives, stories, dissent, discourse, power, ethics, organizational change together with the position of the involved discourse scholar. Hence, it contributes to the field of Organizational Discourse Studies (ODS), in which scholars are actively involved in dealing with local organizational challenges (cf. Grant & Iedema, 2005; Alvesson & Kärreman, 2011; Iedema, 2011). According to several discourse scholars narration and storytelling is viewed as important daily activities that (re)shape reality and identities with certain local and future consequences (Bager, 2015, 2016; Bamberg, 2005, 2011; Czarniawska, 2015; Taylor & Van Every, 1999; Cooren, 2015). Storytelling is understood as situated, plurivocal, multimodal and embodied interactional features that constitute discourses, identities and realities in a dialectical interplay between local and broader discursive dimensions (cp. discourse with respectively a lowercase d (discourse1) and a capital D (discourse2); Gee, 1999; Nicolini, 2009, 2016; Iedema, 2003). Storytellers co-author stories/narratives and discourses in local settings that involve a plurality of voices and often run counter to more crystallized narrative and discursive structures, such as political organizational and societal structures. (cp. Bakhtinian heteroglossia; Bager, et. Al, 2016, Bager, 2015; Bakhtin, 1982, 1993). The panel invites approaches that address the ‘smallness’ and the more unformal dimensions of organizational storytelling practices such as small stories (Bager, 2016; Bamberg, 1997, 2006; Bamberg & Georgakopoulou,, 2008), counter-narratives (Bamberg & Andrews, 2004, Boje et al, 2016; Frandsen, Kuhn, & Lundholt, 2016) ante-narratives (Boje, 2011; Boje et al, 2016; Svane, In press), dialectical Storytelling (Boje, 2016a, 2016b), performative storytelling (Arendt, 2003; Butler, 2015; Jørgensen, 2016, 2017), true storytelling and the like. Attention is paid to how discourse scholars can oscillate between diverse discursive organizational levels spanning from local here-and-now situations to broader organizational, political and societal spheres (Nicolini, 2009, 2016). The normative and ethical scope is to challenge organizational crystallized ways of saying and doing things together with the socio material and political practices that such activities are embedded in (cp. reflexivity in action; Cunliffe, 2003; Cunliffe & Coupland, 2011; and Butler’s reflexive undoing). The main objective is to foster dissensus-based (Deetz, 2001), democratic, egalitarian and multivoiced organizational and societal practices. Invited contributors and title of their presentations:Kenneth Mølbjerg, Professor, AAU, Dept. of Business and Management: Storytelling and the space of appearance in enacting Organizational ChangeMarita Svane, Associate Professor, AAU, Dept. of Business and Management: Storytelling and Performative Grounded TheoryAnn Starbæk Bager, Assistant Professor, AAU, Dept. of Communication and Psychology: Dialectical Discursive Storytelling in Organizational TransformationsLise-Lotte Holmgren, Associate Professor, AAU, Dept. of Culture and Global Studies: Recruiting who?: A narrative approach to studying organizational change Henrik Koll, Ph.d. scholar, SDU, Dept. of Language and Communication: Countering the ‘corporatization’ narrative: Exploring struggles for organizational hegemonyJens Larsen, Author and founding Partner at Old Friends Industries & Lena Bruun, Partner at Old Friends Industries: True Storytelling - Bridge the gap between ongoing changes and longing for meaning in the organizationAnders Horsbøl, associate Professor, AAU, Dept. of Communication and Psychology: Locally counteracting international crises: narratives of municipal agency References: Arendt, H. (1998): The Human Condition. Chicago: Chicago University PressAlvesson, M & Kärreman, D (2011): Decolonializing discourse: Critical reflections on organizational discourse analysis. Human relations, 64, 1121–1146.Bager, A. S. (2015). Theorizing and analyzing plurivocality and dialogue in organizational and leadership development practices: Discussion and close up discourse analysis of dialogic practices in a leadership development forum. PhD thesis. University of Aalborg, Denmark. Bager, A.S. (2016): Små fortællinger: Diskursanalyse af fortællinger i praksis. In Diskurs og praksis: Teori, metode og analyse, Ed. Anders Horsbøl & Pirkko Raudaskoski. Metoder i samfundsvidenskab og humaniora. Samfundslitteratur.Bager, A.S., Jørgensen, K.M. & Raudaskoski, P.L. (2016): Dialogue and governmentality-in-action: A discourse analysis of a leadership forum. In Studies of Discourse and Governmentality, edited by Paul McIlvenny, Julia Z. Klausen and Laura B. Lindegaard, 209-234, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.Bakhtin, M. (1982). The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays (Vol. 4). Texas: University of Texas Press. Bakhtin, M. (1993). Toward a Philosophy of the Act. Texas: University of Texas Press. Bamberg, M.G. (1997). Positioning between structure and performance. Journal of Narrative and Life History, 7(1-4): 335–342.Bamberg, M. & Andrews, M. (2004). Considering Counter-Narratives: Narrating, Resisting, Making Sense (preface). Amsterdam, NLD: John Benjamins Publishing Company. Bamberg, M. (2005). “Narrative Discourse and Identities”. I J.C. Meister, T.Kindt og W. Schernus (red.), Narratology beyond Literary Criticism. Mediality, Disciplinarity. New York: Walter de Gruyter: 213-238.Bamberg, M. (2006). Stories: Big or small: Why do we care?. Narrative Inquiry 16(1): 139–147.Bamberg, M. (2011). Who am I? Narration and its contribution to self and identity. Theory & Psychology, 21 (1): 3-24.Bamberg, M. & Georgakopoulou, A. (2008). Small stories as a new perspective in narrative and identity analysis. Text & Talk - An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse Communication Studies 28(3): 377–396.Boje, D.M. (2011). Storytelling and the future of organizations: An antenarrative handbook. Routledge. Retrieved from:, 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.Boje, D.M., Svane, M.S. & Gergerich, E. (2016): Counternarrative and Antenarrative inquiry in two cross-cultural Contexts. Journal of Cross-Cultural Competence and Management. Vol. 4(1) p. 55-84. Butler, J. (2015): Notes Towards a Performative Theory of Assemly. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Czarniawska, B. (2015). “Narratologi og feltstudier”. I S. Brinkmann og L. Tanggaard (red.), Kvalitative metoder. En grundbog. København: Hans Reitzels Forlag: 273-296.Cunliffe, A. L. (2003). Reflexive Inquiry in Organizational Research: Questions and Possibilities. Human Relations, 56(8), 983–1003.Cunliffe, A., & Coupland, C. (2011). From hero to villain to hero: Making experience sensible through embodied narrative sensemaking. Human Relations, 65(1), 63–88.Cooren, F. (2015): Organizational discourse: Communication and constitution. John Wiley & Sons. Frandsen, S., Kuhn, T., & Lundholt, M. W. (2016). Counter-narratives and organization. Counter-Narratives and Organization., S. (2001). Conceptual Foundations. In: New Handbook of Organizational Communication. California: Sage Publications. Gee, J.P. (1999). An Introduction to Discourse Analysis: Theory And Method. London and New York: Routledge.Grant, D & Iedema, R (2005): Discourse Analysis and the Study of Organizations. Text-Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of Discourse, 25(1), 37–66.Iedema, R. (2003a). Discourses of Post-Bureaucratic Organization. John Benjamins Publishing.Iedema, R. (2007). On the multi-modality, materially and contingency of organization discourse. Organization Studies 28(6), pp. 931– 946.Iedema, R (2011): Discourse Studies in the 21st Century: A response to Mats Alvesson and Dan Kärreman’s “Decolonializing discourse.” Human Relations, 64(9), 1163–1176.Jørgensen, K.M. (2016): Fortællinger, magt og etik i organisationer. In organisatorisk dannelse: etiske perspektiver på organisatorisk læring (Ed Kurt Dauer Keller). P 333-360. Aalborg UniversitetsforlagJørgensen, K.M. (2017): Entanglements of storytelling and power in the enactment of organizational subjectivity. Academy of Management Proceedings, Atlanta, GA. Nicolini, D. (2009). Zooming in and out: studying practices by switching theoretical lenses and trailing connections. Organization Studies 30(12): 1391–1418.Nicolini, D. (2016). Practice Theory, Work, & Organization: An introduction. Oxford. Oxford university Press. Svane, M.S. (In Press): Organizational Storytelling of The Future: Ante- and Anti-Narrative in Quantum Age. The Handbook of Management and Organizational inquiry (ed. David Boje, et al.). Emerald Group Publishing.Taylor, J.R. og E.J. Van Every (1999). The Emergent Organization: Communication as Its Site and Surface. Abingdon, Oxon: Taylor & Francis Group.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date4 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2018
EventNORDISCO : 5th Nordic Interdisciplinary Conference on Discourse and Interaction - Århus Universitet, Århus, Denmark
Duration: 21 Nov 201823 Nov 2018


LocationÅrhus Universitet
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Panel proposal: A Discourse Activist Perspective on Organizational Storytelling'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this