To read this content please select one of the options below:

The role of storytelling in navigating through the storm of change

Antoinette Ophelia Wilson (Department of Leadership, Belhaven University, Jackson, Mississippi, USA)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 31 July 2019




The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the perception of the role of storytelling in organizational change in this study involving eight principals and administrators in three of Central Florida’s counties. The study concerns the change from the “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) legislation to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA, December 10, 2015) Even though the ESSA includes major changes from the NCLB legislation, schools that consistently perform below standard continue to face having to turn over operations to a charter or outside entity (Florida Department of Education, 2018).


This study engaged the phenomenological research design of qualitative methodology in this small case study. Eight principals and/or administrators employed in Orange, Seminole and Volusia County public schools participated in this study. SurveyMonkeyTM, an online survey tool, was the instrument used to collect the data.


Two themes emerged from the perceptions of the participants. They expressed storytelling is effective in engaging the school’s culture and strengthening commitment to the change. They also expressed that even though storytelling is recommended as a tool to use in organizational change, it is only one of the necessary elements.

Practical implications

Like in other industries where dynamic changes arise from external factors, ESSA, the new standardized assessment, under-performing students and insufficient financial and academic resources have created the perfect storm for principals and administrators to navigate if their schools are to survive. Storytelling can be a helpful part of the change management toolkit.


In this case study, storytelling has proven to be an effective measure for principals and administrators to include as one of their change tools to engage in productive communication as they tackle the many negative side effects of the new act.



Wilson, A.O. (2019), "The role of storytelling in navigating through the storm of change", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 32 No. 3, pp. 385-395.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles