The Emerald Handbook of Quantum Storytelling Consulting

Cover of The Emerald Handbook of Quantum Storytelling Consulting


Table of contents

(21 chapters)

Section I Quantum Storytelling Consulting


This chapter relates quantum storytelling consulting (QSC) to ensemble leadership theory (ELT) by Rosile, Boje, & Claw (2016). What kinds of leadership does it take to attend to the forecaring in advance of the future and how does this relate to quantum storytelling? In a music ensemble, no one musician is the star: they are equal, all are the stars of the show, emerging as stars and then taking a supporting role in cyclic rotation. ELT is important to the world ecology because it is a together-we-are-all-leaders approach. Rather than restricting leadership to one or a few people, the ensemble of many networks of leadership is important. I will contrast ELT with more familiar models of leadership: dispersed, distributed, and relational that restrict leadership to a few. One primary difference is that ELT includes both community and ecology and it is rooted in Indigenous Ways of Knowing (IWOK) that extend from the ancient Southwest US and Mexico. My contribution here is to recognize that ELT is rooted in the rhizomatic fractal, whereas the other models of leadership discussed here (dispersed, distributed, and relational) have been linear-, cyclic-, or spiral-fractal waves. A fractal is defined as recurring self-sameness patterns across scalabilities. I will look to Deleuzian rhizomatic-fractals, which ELT purports to be and make an observation: ELT revived and reinvented in late modern capitalism, must be a correlate with the dominant hierarchic kinds of leadership of here and now, which is this world situation we are now in. Does not each revolution (steam, diesel/gas combustion, cyber-information, and liquid modernity) actually create anew the enslavement of human beings in hierarchic forms of leadership? At the end of this chapter, ensemble leadership will be related to whole-world ecological health.


The chapter elaborates on how to deal with one of the major challenges facing organizations worldwide: stress. The Break enacts a quantum approach to meet the challenges by proposing a combination of three different quantum storytelling technologies – protreptic mentoring, walking, and material storytelling – to enact fruitful breakings of patterns unbecoming. The claim being that the hamster wheel of work–life anno 2016 needs reconfiguration, and the simple yet fruitful manner by which this is done is through acknowledging the benefits of bodies, spaces, and artifacts –as well as the benefits of actually taking a break, discontinuing for a moment in order to continue being better, wiser, and more at ease. This concerns breaks taken as part of the daily routines, as well as outside these routines, in the majesty of nature with time to explore and redirect the course of life in companionships with fellow man as both co-provider of and witness to your elaborations. It is really that simple. The chapter concludes toward a set of dogmas for future reference in addressing these challenges in this manner.


This chapter is about quantum storytelling and improvisation and how to use quantum storytelling as an improv theater for social change. Quantum storytelling, in its fore-caring, is about producing an ethics of care where none exists. In the quantum storytelling theater for change, we envision a stage with human and non-human actors (animals, plants, quantum wave/particles) and ways to collapse waves of quantum potentiality into new possibilities for human survival, for posthumanist survival.

We will assert that this happens through improvisation: something called “quantum storytelling with improv.” Our example for this chapter is a theater company we created in Las Cruces, NM, called “Veterans Theater” in which improv is the performance approach. Boje teaches in the belly of the beast (the Business College) at New Mexico State University, a course called “Leadership Is Theater in Society” that uses improv. It is not only about improv but it is also based on Theater of the Oppressed (Boal, 1979, 2002) and Improvisation for the Theater (Spolin, 1983); it also draws from Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Freire, 1970) and Rules for Radicals (Alinsky, 1971), both of which call on improv as a process for social change. Improv is a vital leadership skill in complex polycultural systems, which is the future of business. Leadership theory is dead. Get over it! Or, resurrect it with improv!


This chapter describes the theoretical contributions of Fractal Change Management (FCM) in relation to Quantum Storytelling theory and practice. Building on the application of complexity theory in the hard sciences as well as social contexts, this chapter considers the areas of overlap and difference between FCM and its theoretical fellows, summarizing selected concepts from FCM, considering the strengths and weaknesses of the method in various contexts, as well as its development over time. Prior studies in the yoga and nonprofit communities are briefly discussed along with ongoing work with software developers. Areas for further study are examined in detail, as a way to establish an antenarrative for this line of inquiry that honors its lineage as well as its contributions to the body of knowledge.


The most widely used conceptualizations of organizing assume that organizational issues are known, and consequently, organizing targets on control and management. Traditional organizing focuses on planning for the known future with a small group of experts and for the most part neglects the experiential ambiguities of organizational stakeholders. That research stream neglects a topic of consciousness and if studied, it approaches consciousness mostly as an object. This chapter assumes that ambiguity holds many resources, which a storytelling approach – the quantum stream of it – accommodates. Furthermore, it indicates that consciousness can be included in the organization equation. It suggests understanding consciousness as an everyday process in organizations rather than a brain function only, and lets us to take consciousness seriously. This chapter draws on my dissertation about consciousness-based view of organizing. It claims that everyone working in organizations influences of the consciousness fields, which then become actors taking care of us in organizations unless we become aware of them. Consciousness provides momentous information for those interested in strategic leaps, accelerated innovations, and fosters sustainable and ethical ways of working and organizing.

Section II Applications to Fields of Study


I write about an entrepreneurial teaching experiment that created tolerance for critical thinking. I find that the entrepreneurial storytelling method of teaching made more money for the clients of a small business consulting class. The entrepreneurial-storytelling method leads students into a three-step conversation. During each step, they talk to each other in small groups, taking notes from each other. During the first step, the students talk about what they learned from the reading. During the second step, the students criticize the ideas that they read. During the final step, the students find a way to use what they learned despite their criticisms. During this time, the professor works between steps to help the groups talk to each other between steps. The professor also helps small groups while they are talking to each other. This makes it normal to disagree while learning, creates moments where students feel like they control what they know, and leads to tolerance for critical thinking. I discuss the implications this may have for group innovation and stoking social entrepreneurial intentions.


The structure of this chapter is a literature review, followed by method, narrative data, findings, contributions, and conclusion. The literature review supports my sales pitch – individuals with autism are intelligent, emotional, and social individuals. My method is autoethnographic quantum storytelling, I will tell stories. The narrative data are the many stories that I have collected of individuals with autism thinking, feeling, and socializing and tie them to the work setting. My findings are that individuals with autism can be very valuable in the workplace, and with some adjustments that may vary across individuals, individuals with autism can easily be supported in the work setting. My contribution is to the employing organization and the individual with autism. I will conclude with how this shows that individuals with autism are intelligent, emotional, social individuals that belong in the work setting.


In this chapter, Sande Leadership will be introduced as an approach to getting leaders beyond the dominant narrative to a balance between authentic-self and stakeholder needs. Gender roles, ethics, norms and values, and political skills have become dominant narratives for various industries and their leadership addressed by the Sande Leadership model.

The model is an area of opportunity that addresses management social sustainability. Leadership development in management education will be the focus in the classroom, and leadership professional development will be the focus in organizations. In both industries, policy development for sustainable practice will be explored in the development of business scorecards used to measure sustainable practice in organizations.


A testimonio reveals the bridges and connections created by collective learning. For many Xicanas, the first learning occurs in their home. Studies show that the familia encourages life lessons through daily chores, conversation about school and education, advice from grandparents, sibling interaction, and by watching parents or elders negotiate and interact with the dominant society and among other family members. This research in home-learning practices provides valuable data in understanding the successes and challenges of Xicanas in higher education. Ultimately, testimonio presents a unique method, process, and product that uncovers the many daily challenges that Xicanas confront. The purpose of this chapter is to draw attention to the fact that testimonio and storytelling does and can play an important role in the life and work of Xicanas in higher education. The chapter outlines the framework and theoretical lens of mestiza consciousness and pedagogies of the home as the foundation for storytelling through interviews and platicas identified as testimonio. The study conducted is an autoethnography that details the significance of storytelling through testimonio as a method of survival in higher education. Testimonio and storytelling are central to the field of critical race theory, Xicana feminism, and social justice education which stresses the significance of Being authentic to Self.


The objective of this chapter is to interpret a supply chain as an ontological entity with being-in-the-world of spacetimemattering. A case study approach is adopted to reveal the strategies undertaken by one of China’s fastest growing Internet companies – Xiaomi Inc. – to create competitive advantage through its management of product design and supply chain integration. Utilizing publicly available data, we analyze the company with quantum storytelling and network analysis techniques. Our analysis concludes that Xiaomi’s success originates from two aspects. First, Xiaomi is a good storyteller, who makes stories appealing to customers by involving them into product design and branding. Second, Xiaomi’s parsimonious supply chain substantially improves its market responsiveness and reduces disruption risks; more importantly, it helps to offer products of great value to customers.


Storytelling helps clarify the concealed or less visible elements of reality in its authentic context. Story analysis read between the lines of written or oral narratives to obtain richer understanding of an event. However, storytelling practice is a double-edge sword. Skilled storytellers may employ the power of storytelling to reframe an event in a favorable or undesirable way.

In contemporary business world, corporations broadly employ expert authors who proficiently apply storytelling practices in corporate public documents. Accordingly, corporate public documents declare desirable corporate image and promising reflection of business activities hence the corporate attracts more stockholders and obtains extra resources.

In current business world, corporates that do not appropriately employ storytelling would fail to take the opportunity to brainwash stockholders, hence suffer from competitive disadvantage.

This case study analyses Sears Holdings Corporation public report to explore how its business activities are revealed to public stakeholders. This study also proposes hypotheses of the consequences of ineffective storytelling.


The purpose of this study is to examine the fulfillment of Panda’s mission statement in the organization’s macro and minor storytelling and provide a close look at the function of the organizational culture to enhance the fulfillment of organization missions. The study employs qualitative methodology and participant observation to inspect the fulfillment of Panda’s mission statement in the organization’s macro storytelling first. The fulfillment of the mission statement in the micro storytelling is examined at a local store. By comparing the macro and the micro storytelling, the study presents the consistency and inconsistency of fulfillment of the organization’s mission statement at different hierarchies of the organization. Lastly, the study discusses the function of organizational culture in enhancing the fulfillment of the mission statement of the organization. The first finding of this study is that there are consistencies and inconsistencies in fulfilling Panda’s mission statement in its macro- and micro-level storytelling. The second finding of the study readdresses that organizational culture can work as a buffer to enhance the fulfillment of the mission statement and mitigate the inconsistency between the macro and micro storytelling.


The chapter accounts for the process of becoming of a changed practice within the area of disability care in the Municipality of Aalborg in Denmark.

Across a period of a few months in the fall of 2015, a group of employees across the organization and an action researcher from Aalborg University (the author) met and formed a research-practice group, and across this period a revised model for cooperation emerged that – upon realization – would reconfigure the intra-play of all relevant areas of the organization involved in disability care. The model included the grasping of disability as dis/ability and thereby the model opened the possibility for reworking the binary of ability/disability to the benefit of restorying the citizen’s ability in the practices of changing the disability care.


The present study applies a therapeutic modality known as sandtray to help 10 graduate students at New Mexico State University (NMSU) reflect on themselves. A shallow, rectangular sandtray, measuring 28.5 inches by 19.5 inches and 3 inches deep, half-filled with sand, is the basic instrument. The basic element of every sandtray is sand which is the basic element of the earth that connects people to their soul. I will introduce the sandtray therapy as a simple, nonverbal method in which small toys are representatives of real phenomena – namely, deep personal issues. Furthermore, I will bring together various approaches toward sandtray therapy as presented by different researchers, along with a personal disclosure of my own experience using this method and by providing photographs of my sandtray. My experience was in accordance with Carl Jung who explained that sandtray figures are characterized in a way that corresponds to the four essential phenomenological functions or personality types identified as the following: thinking, feeling, intuitive, and sensate. In the last part of this chapter, I will discuss the ways in which my sandtray represents my background as a person coming from Persia along with a Persian culture living in the United States while adapting myself to a new life.


I am a bike-sharing activist at New Mexico State University (NMSU) and am using quantum storytelling, as well as ethnographic, methods to study its bike-sharing implementation process. Moreover, quantum storytelling is, by its very nature, an intervention into the process it observes and, in this case, utilized as a means to encourage the university-governing entities to support and fund a bike-sharing program. Quantum storytelling is formally defined as “the interplay of quantum understandings with storytelling processes,” including their counternarratives (Boje, 2014, p. 100). It is not human dramatic action simply put into text or context. Rather, it is establishing a pattern of assemblages of actants – human, nonhuman (animals, plants, etc.), and material (in this case, bikes, paths, and so on) – and providing a storytelling that accounts for their inseparable spacetimemattering (Boje, 2014; Boje & Henderson, 2014). Additionally, quantum storytelling helps make explicit what Heidegger (1962) calls fore-having, fore-structuring, fore-conception, fore-telling, and fore-caring (as developed Boje, Svane, & Gergerich, in review). It allows for antenarrative preview of the way to operationalize bike-sharing through visual media, including pictures, documents, five-year plans, campus maps, bikes, and the riders themselves. Through this presentation, I will show embodied practices stemming from quantum storytelling, and do so using both a Barthean S/Z and Bojean antenarrative analysis of the bikeshare implementation process.

Section III Research Methods for Quantum Storytelling Consulting


This chapter proposes a quantum relational process philosophy as an approach for studying organization-in-becoming as a world-creating process. Furthermore, the quantum relational process philosophy is tied to quantum storytelling. Whereas the quantum relational process philosophy outlines a philosophy of a processual ontology, epistemology, and ethic, quantum storytelling provides the storytelling medium through which such an ontology, epistemology, and ethic emerges through articulation and actualization. As such, the two approaches are introduced as inseparable from each other.

The focus of this chapter is to unfold the ties between the quantum relational process philosophy and quantum storytelling through the perspective of the quantum relational process philosophy itself.

The proposed quantum relational process philosophy is defined as Being-in-Becoming. Thereby, this approach is suggested as an alternative to the “Being” perspective and the “Becoming” perspective or at least as a further development of the becoming perspective. These latter two perspectives present two different ways of viewing organizational change: development and transformation.

The being perspective relies on substance ontology acknowledging the existence of entities: that “which is.” In substance ontology, however, entities such as individuals and organizations are viewed as existing in themselves in fixed space-time frames. This view entails a rather static and stable ontology, perceiving the organization as a ready-made world of stable, unchanging entities. This perspective is often referred to as the approach of building the organizational world through intervention and control of change.

As a contrast, the becoming perspective relies on a process ontology while the organization is perceived as a sea of constant flux and change through which the organization emerges on the way. In this process-oriented perspective, attention is directed toward “that which is becoming.” In this perspective, the organization is perceived as a world-making phenomenon emerging through ceaseless processes of transformation. This approach is often referred to as the dwelling approach, that is, to dwell in the world-making phenomenon letting it happen. This perspective tends to ignore that which exists, that is the ready-made forms, and only focus on that which is becoming.

In this chapter, the proposed being-in-becoming perspective views the tension between being and becoming as a dialectical interplay that is decisive to organizational transformation. However, in the being-in-becoming perspective, “entities” are viewed from a quantum perspective whereby being-in-becoming differs from the substance ontology in its view of the nature of “entities.” In this perspective, the organization is viewed as a dialectical interplay between, at the one hand, the organizational form(ing) of life and, at the other hand, the aliveness of unfolding and transforming living life-worlds of being-in-the-world in fluid space and open time. This dialectical interplay is conceived as central in organizational world-creating processes.

The aim of the chapter is to develop a conceptual framework of a quantum relational process philosophy that embraces the dialectics of transforming organizations. The contribution is to be capable of understanding the performative consequences of dialectic to organizational transformation viewed from the being-in-becoming perspective of the quantum relational process philosophy.

Through the contribution of Heidegger, Hegel, Aristotle, and Boje, and further enriched by Barad, Bakhtin, and Shotter, a conceptual framework is developed for understanding, analyzing, and problematizing dialectical organizational world-creating.

This framework is called “Fourfold World-Creating.” The fourfold world-creating framework keeps the dialectic of organizational transformation at its center while it at the same time take into consideration the dialectical interplay of ontology, epistemology, and ethic. In this sense, the framework is proposed as quantum relational process philosophy. The incorporation of ethic in the quantum relational process philosophy represents an additional contribution of the chapter.

The fourfold world-creating framework is furthermore suggested to be conceived as a quantum relational process philosophy of the antenarrative dimension in David Boje’s quantum storytelling triad framework encompassing: (1) the narrative, (2) the living stories, and (3) the antenarrative. In his recent research, David Boje has a developed a dialectical perspective on his storytelling framework. Following in line with this thinking, this chapter suggests viewing (1) the narrative as the ready-made form, (2) the living stories as the living life-worlds, and (3) the antenarrative as fourfold world-creating.

In this sense, the proposed dialectical fourfold world-creating framework and its embeddedness in the quantum relational process philosophy contributes to our understanding of the research contributes of antenarrative storytelling in organizational studies.

As findings, the chapter proposes what could be considered as ontological, epistemological, and ethical key constituents in dialectical organizational world-creating. The contribution of these findings encompasses an analytical framework for (1) understanding the dialectical, transformative movements of the organization as well as (2) analyzing and problematizing the cease of dialectical tensions that seems to lock the organization in a particular state of being, only capable of repeating and reproducing its ready-made world in fixed space-time frames.


Quantum storytellers understand that there are infinite patterns in large datasets that might be labeled “stories” according to the terminology of large data analytics. Big Data analysts attempt to find background stories from data. Contrastingly, we as quantum storytellers, claim that data obtained from stories are more valuable to organizations than the stories produced by data. This approach, however, faces a major challenge: veracity of subjective story analysis. Accordingly, we propose 10 metrics for the analysis of stories and mining data from similar open-ended sources in order to develop a framework that creates shared understanding of stories at workplace. The chapter proposes the metrics to launch and apply the analytic tools.


We live in organizations addicted to problematic narratives. My purpose is to develop intelligent action understandings of how to care for organizations addicted to problematic elevator pitch narratives and one-sided stories by mapping quantum storytelling “Tamara-Land” forces ignored beneath and between them both (Boje, 1995). Tamara-land is the everyday activity of people in organizations chasing stories spatially distributed in different rooms, hallways, buildings that are temporally simultaneous, with materialities that are agential to the telling. For example, in this conference, the immersive theater into Tamara-Land is done in Steel Case open office spaces, as audience decides which actors to follow as they exit each scene. You cannot chase them all, and cannot be everywhere at once in this spacetimemattering. Quantum storytelling does not search for simple word or text messaging tag lines to explain open offices. Quantum storytelling uncovers deep behavior patterns of the spacetimemattering. “Quantum storytelling includes nondiscursive and behavioral aspects embodied in the storyteller’s life, in their living story behavioral-performative agentiality” (Boje, 1995, p. 114) and in nonhuman’s materialism featured in Karen Barad’s (2007) and Anete Strand’s material storytelling work. Quantum storytelling of Tamara-Land mapping at macro scale traces the interplay of people, planet, and profit (aka Triple Bottom Line, 3BL) but does not reduce it to imagined profitability metrics. I will critique 3BL for not proposing any method to measure people and planet first and by default reducing all dimensions to just bottom line profit measures. The consequence is that a runaway, maximizing fractal, known in socioeconomic work as the Taylor–Fayol–Weber rationality or “TFW virus” (Worley, Zardet, Bonnet, & Savall, 2015, pp. 23–24; Savall& Peron, 2015), attains functional structuralism (Alvesson & Spicer, 2012). In quantum storytelling fractal work, it’s “TFW fractal” profiteering that is destroying both planet and people, at an ever-accelerating rate (Boje & Henderson, 2014; Boje, 2015; Henderson & Boje, 2015). My contribution is to propose a different fractal pattern, the Mandelbrot fractal that actually sets limits on runaway fractal appetite. Both the 3BL and the VA techno-digital fractal narrative spiral more and more materials, energy, and people into the risk of an addictive TFW virus pattern, without limit.

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