ERIC Number: ED254883
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Feb
Storytelling in High Tech Organizations: A Medium for Sharing Culture.
Kelly, Jan W.
Working on the assumption that members of organizations create their own organizational reality by interpreting the behaviors and activities they see, the stories and myths about the organization that they hear, and pressures to conform to the norms and practices of the organization that they feel, a study examined a total of 58 stories collected from 33 different high tech organizations. The stories were analyzed according to their scripts or skeletal structures. Standard analyses focused on hero/villain, the action line, and scene. Informants occupied positions throughout the organizations, such as secretaries, engineers, regional managers, and bookkeepers. Among the stories collected, 18 were versions of the "boss story." Whether positive or negative, the stories focused on the power structure and, by emphasizing its existence, served to legitimate it. Rule breaking and its consequences were themes in 13 stories in the sample, while 10 dealt with a variety of internal and external obstacles that confronted the protagonists--employees at all different levels in the organization. Three other story types appeared in the sample in smaller numbers: "Can the Little Person Rise to the Top?""Will I Get Fired?" and "Will the Organization Help Me When I Have to Move?" Of the 10 remaining stories, 4 had to do with institutionalized narratives, 2 dealt with unexplainable phenomena, and the final story was industry-specific and hinted at its "anything goes" reputation. (HOD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western Speech Communication Association (Fresno, CA, February 16-19, 1985).