A multi-layered approach to surfacing and analysing organisational narratives : increasing representational authenticity

EAVES, Sally and WALTON, John (2013). A multi-layered approach to surfacing and analysing organisational narratives : increasing representational authenticity. In: MESQUITA, Anabela and RAMOS, Isabel, (eds.) Proceedings of The 12th European Conference on Research Methodology for Business and Management Studies. Reading, UK, Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited, 127-136.


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This paper presents an integrated, multi-layered approach to narrative inquiry, elucidating the evolving story of organisational culture through its members and their physical, textual, linguistic and visual dialogue. A dynamic joint venture scenario within the UK hi-technology sector was explored to advance understanding of the impact of transformation level change, specifically its influence on shared belief systems, values and behavioural norms. STRIKE – STructured Interpretation of the Knowledge Environment is introduced as an innovative technique to support narrative inquiry, providing a structured, unobtrusive framework to observe, record, evaluate and articulate the organisational setting. A manifestation of narrative in physical dialogue is illuminated from which the underlying emotional narrative can be surfaced. Focus groups were conducted alongside STRIKE to acquire a first order retrospective and contemporaneous narrative of culture and enable cross-method triangulation. Attention was given to non-verbal signals such as Chronemic, Paralinguistic, Kinesic and Proxemic communication and participants were also afforded opportunities to develop creative output in order to optimise engagement. Photography was employed to enrich STRIKE observation and document focus group output, affording high evidential value whilst providing a frame of reference for reflection. These tools enable a multiplicity of perspectives on narrative as part of methological bricolage. Rich, nuanced and multi-textured understanding is developed, as well as the identification of connections, timbre and subjugated knowledge. A highly emotional and nostalgic context was established with actors’ sense of self strongly aligned with the pre-joint venture organisation and its brand values, norms and expectations. Credibility and authenticity of findings is enhanced through data triangulation indicating traceability across methods, and from the contextual preservation attained through STRIKE. The multi-layered approach presented can facilitate researcher reflexivity and sense-making, while for the audience, it may be employed to help communicate and connect research findings. In particular, STRIKE demonstrates utility, quality and efficacy as a design artefact following ex-post evaluation. This systematic method of narrative inquiry is suitable for standardisation and alongside a diagnostic/prescriptive capacity, affords both researcher and practictioner value in its application.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Communication and Computing Research Centre
Departments - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Faculty of Science, Technology and Arts > Department of Computing
Identification Number: 2049-0968
Page Range: 127-136
Depositing User: John Walton
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2013 12:07
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 06:10
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7426

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