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On Getting the Story Crooked (and Straight)

Alan L. Wilkins (Brigham Young University, USA)
Michael P. Thompson (Brigham Young University, USA)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 1 March 1991

Abstract

Without the stories, or narratives that organisations construct, there could be no social negotiation or sense making. A problem is that the narratives are often “too straight”, too simplistic and self‐serving to be helpful representations of reality. Most stories in organisations that are used to manage change efforts are too simple, and too much believed. They foster naive optimism that soon degenerates into cynicism. Stories are maps, but are often confused with the territories themselves. Some examples of stories or accounts of organisational change efforts that are straight, and how they might have been made more “crooked”, are discussed. Some suggestions on how leaders in organisations can become more thoughtful consumers of straight stories and make those stories more helpful maps to guide organisations through the turbulence of change are offered.

Keywords

Citation

Wilkins, A.L. and Thompson, M.P. (1991), "On Getting the Story Crooked (and Straight)", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 4 No. 3, pp. 18-26. https://doi.org/10.1108/EUM0000000001194

Publisher

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MCB UP Ltd

Copyright © 1991, MCB UP Limited