Stories and customs at work may mirror the culture, be survivals from the past, or constitute a screen onto which fantasies are projected serving as safety valves, sanctioned expressions of “outlaw emotions”, or scapegoats. While some stories seem to challenge the culture they in fact preserve it; others that appear to support norms and values actually indict them. Organisational change managers must take a more sophisticated approach, recognising organisations as symbolic worlds and understanding the variety of expressive forms and processes. They need to be aware of inconsistencies and contradictions. They should leave some coping mechanisms in place while removing the cause of sore spots in other instances. Finally, those implementing change may be able to use some customs and stories themselves to aid the process.
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