What stories do you have to tell about life in your organization? It turns out that storytelling can play an important role in strategy-making.
For this Journal of Management Inquiry article, the authors designed, facilitated, and gathered data during a 1-day storytelling workshop at a technology firm, the idea being to develop a greater understanding of strategy as a lived experience. Participants were asked to identify a moment of glory (“What is the hero’s ‘Achilles heel?'”), a tragic situation (“What can be learnt from the downfall, to be reborn?”), a comic situation (‘What about your organization do others find funny?”) and more:
This article presents a phenomenological inquiry into storytelling practices in corporate strategy-making processes, as experienced by nonsenior stakeholders. The authors utilize the potential of phenomenological methods to provide an enriched understanding of strategy as lived, embodied experience. Based on a strategy workshop in a company called ICARUS Inc., a large, international information technology corporation facing the challenge of reinventing itself after a period of considerable success, the authors identify three embodied narrative practices enacted during that workshop event: (a) discursive struggles over “hot” words, (b) the de-sacralization of strategy, and (c) recurring rituals of self-sacrifice. The article critically analyzes these practices in reference to recent research on strategy as a lived and narrated experience and discusses their implications as well as the implications of the workshop itself. Overall, the article aims at providing theoretical as well as methodological contribution for narrative practices of strategy in organizational lifeworlds.
Click here to read the article, “Strategy as Storytelling: A Phenomenological Collaboration,” in the January 2013 issue of the Journal of Management Inquiry. Also check out the journal’s Meet the Person, Non-Traditional Research, and Reflections on Experience sections.