Storytelling Organizations is a blog about how storytelling is a dynamic sensemaking currency in organizations. This is not your once upon a time storytelling, not a performance. Its what people do.
I'm David Boje. I have been studying storytelling organizations for 33 years. There are four kinds (at least) of ways to look at ways people participate in collective storytelling.DIALOGUE - that is monological pretending to be dialogue. These are the kinds of whole narrative retrospections with the coherence of beginning, middle, and end that Aristotle (350 BCE) said must be the proper structure. DEBATE - We enter the narrative retro control of locality, where one tells in awareness of the rivalry of distributed power groups. The power groups effect local control over what we tell, don't tell, and how we tell. Unlike dialog that is monological hegemony, we enter the realm of polyphonic dialogism (but just this single dialogims) and not the multiple ones below. We are still very much in retrospective, but it's fragmented, distrubuted. It is here I write about antenarratives (fragments of telling that are pre-story, and bets some wholeness could happen).DIALECTIC = We enter the realm of the psychoanalytic, such as the 'I-We' dialectic that George Herbert Mead (1934) talked about. Here we have the internalized "We's" those persona of our parents, siblings, bosses, etc that rattle about in our head. The "We's" we internalize in socialization are forms of narrative control over what we tell. Immanuel Kant's dialectic of transcendental logic, and his transcendental aesthetic are other forms of reflexivity that are a priori to retrospection.DIALOGIC - We enter the level of complexity of inter-discourse, and intertextuality. We leave the world of singlular discourse, and enter the world of multi-dialogisms, which I call the "Polypi of Dialogisms." The Polypi is more than just the usual polyphonic dialogism. At this level of complexity, there is also the interteractivity of stylistic dialogism (of multiple stylistics ways of telling in orality and in multiple ways of writing utterances), chronotopic dialogism (the many diverse ways of spatiality and temporality in our tellings that interact), and the architectonic dialogism (the interanimation of cognitive, aesthetic, and ethical discourses, ofter at the societal level).
The four forms of story participation seem to build on one another in a Piagetian or Kohlbergian sense of stages of development -- a maturation of storytelling organization. If this may occur, what are the enabling mechanisms by which an organization moves between these levels? How might one observe the level at which the organization is functioning? This is what story consulting should be about!
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