Patterns of Narrative in Organizational Knowledge Sharing

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The following is an abstract of the article.

Using narrative in organizations is now an accepted approach to sharing knowledge on topics such as client service delivery, innovation, leadership, and strategy. It is also an increasingly a vital tool in making sense of that knowledge handling the cultural and experiential ambiguities inherent in contextual differences. Narrative can reveal to both management and employees unexpected insights into accepted practices, personal and clan beliefs, and organization culture. The wider literature on narrative is used to progress the discussion. A schism in research method is apparent in story collection, story significance and the value of the stories themselves to an organization. This schism has several fracture points in narrative inquiry centring on the relationships within the process. A fundamental question is the relationship between the narrator and the collector of the narration. Related points are the intention of the specialist engaged for the process, and the expectations of management concerning outcomes. An equally fundamental question is situating the resulting narrative corpus within the larger programme of organizational objectives. A method is proposed which moves narrative out of the knowledge management and learning organization domains into organizational intervention through recognising their complex attributes. Key aspects of the research method concern the auto-ethnographic role of employees in narrative capture, the transformation of the corpus into durable artefacts, and, the resonance between narrative and action. As a result some perennial questions, including changing narrative, inconsistency between narratives, and varied perceptions of a narrative are resolved.

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