Thursday, September 4, 2008

Emergent Stories


David Boje said...

EMERGENT STORIES - The above four kinds of control narratives surrounder and appropriate emergent stories. Gertude Stein (1934) in her University of Chicago lectures on narrative, talks about the oppression of story that becomes developmental narratives with thos Aristotelian beginning, middle, end structures. She is concerned about the continuous presence, with the improvisation of emergence in the here-and-now. I like her focus on how the many ways of telling are very telling. Her work on landscapes of multiple, simultaneous emergent telling, is for me, a way to step outside of control narrative, if only for a moment.

I have a new book that tells all about the relation of emergent story to control narratives, particularly in what I call Storytelling Organization. Every organization is a Storytelling Organization, but some handle the interplay of emergent story and their ways of control narrative better than others. To me the cutting edge is to figure out how stylistic and other dialogisms are in interplay in ways they practice strategy and change, while coping with multiple forces of systemicity complexity. I use the term systemicity to connote how unfinalized and unmerged organizations are in practice. This is way beyond (level 4) 'open system' thinking. We are in what Kenneth Boulding (1956) called the higher order levels of complexity systemicity, where (level 6) image, (level 7) symbol, (level 8) network, and the (level 9) transcendental rein. Yet our theories of organizations and much of the research is trapped at level 1 (frameworks), level 2 (mechanistic), and level 3 (1st cybernetic control). There is some theory at level 4 (2nd cybernetic open), and attempts at level 5 (organic environmental) but mostly practice is left to struggle with the systemicity complexity of the dialogisms operative at level 6 to level 9 without relevant theory of heteroglossic variety.

So to learn more, send a comment. You can also go on line to for more info and charts from the book I am writing about.

Thanks David Boje

David H. Tobey said...

Story emergence is a phenomenon that begs the question of what occurs during phase transitions -- something we spoke about two years ago during in the systems course -- but now have an ability to detect in StoryLab. Perhaps this is a class project? We use Groupsystems to develop a story elicitation technique piloted with the Systems class (for subsequent field test). We seek to identify antenarrative, cohering transitions (attractors), marginalizing transitions (bifurcations), stable structures, dissipative structures, energizing and enervating substructures (eg., emotive intonation), etc. which form story dynamics and which once known can become the repertoire of story consulting.