Stakeholder Interactions: Storying and Framing

All organizations depend on the existence of shared meanings and interpretations of reality, which facilitate coordinated action

Warren Bennis

We live, move and have our being, marinated in our own stories

David Sims

Man is eminently a storyteller. His search for a purpose, a cause, an ideal, a mission and the like is largely a search for a plot and a pattern in the development of his life story – a story that is basically without meaning or pattern

Eric Hoffer

It takes a thousand voices to tell a single story

Native American saying

Stories are very hard to ignore, especially good stories with vivid characters, intriguing and plausible plots, twists and turns, and unexpected endings. A good deal of interaction following the announcement of an organizational change involves storytelling (Brown, Gabriel, and Gheradi, 2009; Brown and Humphreys, 2003; Whittle, Suhomlinova, and Mueller, 2010). A major point of storytelling is to make sense – sensemaking of a change and to give that sense – sensegiving to others. This chapter will focus on how stakeholders interact about change through stories and through framing and the consequences those interactions have for how stakeholders come to regard their own stakes and the stakes of others. As David Buchanan and Patrick Dawson (2007) argue, “narratives are both about and become the change process” (p. 669). Stories capture the experiences of change, aid in creating sense of the world, influence ...

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