Narrative Styles of Managers and Workers: A Tale of Star-Crossed Lovers

Nic Beech

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    58 Citations (Scopus)


    The findings reported in this article relate to the experiences of managers and workers in three organizations that are implementing culture change as part of a strategy to improve organizational performance through people management. The focus is on an analysis of the stories the managers and workers tell, which reveal underlying narrative styles. It is argued that these narrative styles form cognitive frameworks within which the actors make sense of their own actions and those of others. This creates cycles of interaction, interpretation, and evidence-gathering to reinforce the framework. In other words, the narrative styles form part of the culture and subcultures of the organization. Using a grounded theory approach, six factor descriptors of four narrative styles were derived. The findings are used to question some basic assumptions in the literature concerning the possibilities of affecting organizational performance through people management and culture change strategies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)210-228
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of Applied Behavioral Science
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2000

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Applied Psychology


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