ArticlePDF Available

Stories about Values and Valuable Stories: A Field Experiment of the Power of Narratives to Shape Newcomers’ Actions

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

This study draws on social identity theories of behavioral contagion and research concerning narratives in organizations to present and test a framework for understanding how narratives embed values in organizational newcomers' actions. Employing a field experiment using 632 newly-hired employees in a large IT firm that prioritizes self-transcendent values, this study explores how narratives varying in terms of the organizational level of main characters and the values-upholding or values-violating behaviors of those characters influence newcomers' tendencies to engage in behaviors that uphold or deviate from the values. Results indicate that stories about low-level organizational characters engaging in values-upholding behaviors are more positively associated with self-transcendent, helping behaviors and negatively associated with deviant behaviors, than are similar stories about high-level members of the organization. Stories in which high-level members of the organization violate values are negatively related to newcomers' engagement in both helping and deviance more strongly than are values-violating stories about lower-level members. Content analyses of the stories suggest that they convey values in different and potentially important ways. Implications, future directions, and limitations are discussed.
Content may be subject to copyright.
A preview of the PDF is not available
... İşletme alanında yapılan çalışmalara bakıldığında; etkileşim içinde bulunan paydaşların davranışsal bulaşısı ile otokontrol arasındaki ilişkinin tespitine yönelik bir toplantı özeti (Dalton, 2008), yeni ürün difüzyonunda kanaat önderliği (opinion leadership) ve sosyal bulaşma üzerine bir makale yorumu (Aral, 2011), örgütün üst düzey üyeleri ile ilgili anlatıların örgüte yeni katılanların eylemlerine yerleşmesinde davranışsal bulaşı ve sosyal kimlik teorisinin katkılarını test etmeye yönelik bir araştırma (Martin, 2016), çevrimiçi toplulukta saldırgan yorumların duygusal ve davranışsal bulaşmasını araştıran bir makale (Kwon ve Gruzd, 2017) ile çevrimiçi/çevrimdışı bir aktörün sapkın davranışlarının sosyal bulaşma yoluyla başka aktörlerin (çevrimiçi/çevrimdışı) davranışlarını nasıl etkileyebileceğini ele alan bir makale (Plé ve Demangeot, 2020) olmak üzere beş yayın görülmektedir. ...
... Especially in the years, 2017 (15 publications, 386 citations), 2018 (11 publications, 463 citations), 2019 (11 publications, 525 citations), 2020 (13 publications, 637 citations) and in 2021 (16 publications, 779 citations) Considering the studies in the field of business there are five publications as follows; (1) a meeting summary on the determination of the relationship between behavioral contamination of interacting stakeholders and autocontrol (Dalton, 2008), (2) an article comment on opinion leadership in new product diffusion and social contagion (Aral, 2011), (3) a study to test the contributions of behavioral contagion and social identity in the incorporation of narratives about senior members of the organization into actions of newcomers (Martin, 2016), (4) an article investigating the emotional and behavioral contagion of offensive comments in the online community (Kwon and Gruzd, 2017), and (5) an article (Plé and Demangeot, 2020) ...
... ODÜ Sosyal Bilimler Araştırmaları Dergisi / ISSN: 1309-9302 / dergipark.org.tr/tr/pub/odusobiad revealing the existence of behavioral contagion between oil markets and stock markets of oil importing and exporting countries during the financial crisis in the USA in 2008-2009(Ghorbel et al., 2014, (2) a study showing that low-intensity negative behaviors such as rudeness in organizations can be contagious among members (Foulk et al., 2016), and (3) Martin (2016)'s study mentioned above in the field of business administration. ...
Article
Full-text available
Davranışsal bulaşma kavramı, son yıllarda dikkat çekmeye başlayan ve çeşitli disiplinlerde araştırmalara konu olan bir kavram olarak öne çıkmaktadır. Bu bağlamda, çalışmanın amacı “davranışsal bulaşma” ile ilgili alanyazında, mevcut olan ana temaları belirlemek ve yönetim alanına yönelik çıkarımlar ile gelecek araştırmalara katkı sağlayacak bir zemin hazırlamaktır. Çalışma kapsamında, Web of Science veri tabanı taranarak “davranışsal bulaşma” konulu yayınların yer almaya başladığı 1980 yılından itibaren 162 davranışsal bulaşma çalışması tespit edilmiş ve analize dahil edilmiştir. Bulgulara göre, davranışsal bulaşma kavramının işletme kategorisinde 5 yayın ve yönetim kategorisinde sadece 3 yayın ile çalışılmış olduğu tespit edilmiştir. Yönetim alanında kaleme alınan eserlerin kısıtlı sayıda kalması kavrama yönelik doğuş, büyüme ve gelişme gibi dönemlere ayrılmasına olanak vermemektedir. Bunun yanında, son 10 yılda ilgi görmeye başlayan davranışsal bulaşma hakkında üretilen bilimsel çıktının henüz doygunluğa ulaşmadığı ve yönetim literatürü bağlamında gelişime açık bir alan olduğu bulgulanmıştır.
... According to Martin (2016), many of the researched narratives are simply stories that offer employees in various roles going above and beyond their average expectation, thereby instilling the company's core values. The other side of the narratives provided tales of the consequences of norm violation and the subsequent sanctions (Martin, 2016). ...
... According to Martin (2016), many of the researched narratives are simply stories that offer employees in various roles going above and beyond their average expectation, thereby instilling the company's core values. The other side of the narratives provided tales of the consequences of norm violation and the subsequent sanctions (Martin, 2016). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Industrial distribution faces significant changes: supply chain challenges, competition from online sources, and difficulty finding new employees. This research project aimed to understand the lived experiences of several industrial distribution leaders and their quest to improve the lives of their employees and serve the mission on which their organizations were founded. Additionally, the research sought to answer questions concerning how fitness-enhancing strategies are formulated and their effect on the culture needed to prepare organizations for future uncertainty. The data for the project were collected through 17 semi-structured interviews of industrial distribution leaders. The data from the interviews were thematically captured and then filtered through the lens of complex systems and memetic culture. The research serves as a paradox that concentrates on nonlinear distribution aspects to supplement the widespread research almost exclusively focused on linear practices in the industry. One aspect of the research that remains a novelty is the hermeneutic fusion of horizons that offers a culmination of the voice of the distributor as a short narrative and explains the foundation of the promise that represents service and utility. Protecting the distributor promise builds relationships among distribution employees, representative agents, and manufacturers that preserve people in this unrelenting and stressful domain. These findings indicate that the industrial distribution leaders will continue to lead their organizations with fidelity and determination, despite the lack of a precise prognostication of the future.
... Furthermore, stories can generate commitment (McCarthy 2008), and commitment to resilience in the advent of adverse events is a distinguishing feature of highreliability organizations (Weick and Sutcliffe 2007). Finally, by prompting sensemaking (Boje 1991) and easier retrieval (Swap et al. 2001) and conveying an organization's values, code of conduct, culture, and tacit knowledge to its members and, in particular, to newcomers (Martin 2016;Statler and Oliver 2016;Swap et al. 2001), stories can enable interpretation of unprecedented events and constructive and flexible problem solving in line with the aims of the organization (Lengnick- Hall et al. 2011). Furthermore, these features of storytelling enable learning. ...
... Storytelling is regarded as it is a new form of corporate communication and offers various advantages. It is a narrative form, which helps individuals make sense of events (Gabriel 2000;Martin 2016;Weick 2007). According to Gabriel (2000), "stories are narratives with plots and characters, generating emotion in narrator and audience, through a poetic elaboration of symbolic material" (Gabriel 2000, p. 239). ...
Article
Full-text available
In this experimental study, we compare the influence of risk communication in the form of stories versus statistics on the level of investment in a resilience-promoting activity. We also analyze how this influence interacts with time gap and with an individual’s preferences for risk and numbers. The results indicate that individuals invest more in a resilience-promoting activity when communication comes as a story. This finding holds irrespective of an individual’s risk preference. The results did not confirm the expectation that communication in story form leads to a more enduring effect than communication in statistical form. The expectation that the preference for numbers influences the effectiveness of a specific communication form was also not confirmed.
... The workshops were presented to participants as episodes to help them understand they needed to create their own stories, differently from storytelling used as a communications tool (Martin, 2016). To facilitate the story-making experience, we developed a set of cards showing the necessary steps participants had to focus on in each workshop. ...
... Coherently,Denning (2008) explains the pivotal role of choosing the right narrative pattern for a particular purpose and performing it in the right way to involve people. Further,Martin (2016) highlights that it is a matter of what is told and about who the teller is: different voices might convey values and messages in different ways. ...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose To overcome change management challenges, organizations often rely on stories as means of communication. Storytelling has emerged as a leading change management tool to influence and bring people on sharing knowledge. Nevertheless, this study aims to suggest stories of change as a more effective tool that helps people in taking action toward transformation processes. Design/methodology/approach The authors apply design science research to develop and evaluate how writing a prospective story engages organizational actors in the transformation process. The authors test the story-making artifact in a field study with five companies and 115 employees who participated in 75 workshops. Findings Using the findings to discuss the role of story-making in facilitating the emergence of new behaviors in transformation processes, the authors link story-making with the opportunity to make change happen through knowledge dissemination rather than merely understanding it. Research limitations/implications The authors illustrate the role of iterations, peers and self-criticism that help story-makers embrace sensemaking, developing a shared knowledge based that influence individual actions. Practical implications The authors propose the story-making approach that organizations can follow to nurture change to make transformation happen through knowledge cocreation. Originality/value The research explores story-making as an individual act of writing prospective stories to facilitate the emergence of new behaviors through shared knowledge.
... Svarbu paminėti, jog istorija yra formatas, kuriuo žmonės įsimena perteikiamą informaciją, žinias [22]. Be to, istori jos pasakojimas padeda formuluojant ateities pla nus bei prisideda prie sėkmingo vizijos įgyvendi nimo [25]. Pastarieji dalykai yra glaudžiai susiję su idėjų priimtinumu ir įgyvendinimu. ...
Article
Climate change is seen as a matter of urgently needed decisions and broad public involvement. A climate- neutral society is what the European Union and other developed countries are striving for. At first glance, most members of societies in these countries support or tend to support the idea of climate neutrality. The latter idea can be reached by proper sorting of waste, its further use thus meeting the principles of circular economy, conversion of waste that cannot be re-used into energy, energy saving, responsible and sufficient consumption, and similar actions. However, the trend when members of society are reluctant to engage, proactively and to a large extent, in the pursuit of a climate-neutral idea is common to many countries. Research shows that quite often proactive involvement is hampered by a lack of understanding of this idea and a lack of conscious acceptance. Modern marketing supports storytelling. Therefore, it is a way to educate, provide knowledge, understanding, acceptance, and share the same idea of being climate-neutral with other members of society. This could increase the acceptability of the idea and facilitate its dissemination at a later time. However, there is a lack of scientific evidence to state this as there is not much research in this area, especially in the field of energy. Therefore, the aim of the study is to determine the important issues in increasing the acceptability of a climate-neutral society through storytelling. The approach of qualitative research was chosen to achieve the aim. This was due to the desire to display, in various ways, the phenomenon as such, the potential links between the phenomenon and other variables studied, and to formulate insights and further research directions. An analysis of the results of the study suggests that storytelling could be effective in increasing the acceptability of climate neutrality in society. With the help of storytelling, the acceptance of ideas of climate neutrality can be effectively raised by employing positive emotions, empathy, and certain determined values. Storytelling is a way to establish long-term positive attitudes toward the ideas of a climate-neutral society, as it is much easier to overcome mistrust, provide knowledge and convey a key message. Research has also shown that the use of storytelling can be a more effective tool than conventional informational or action-promoting advertising. This leads to the assumption that it is reasonable to expect that storytelling can both increase the acceptability of a climate-neutral society and ensure that this effect will be long-lasting.
... Thus far, we have highlighted the need to study action, practices, and take a system view of AI-importantly, not treating discourse as truth about action. Yet discourse and narratives are part of systems (Clarke 2015), and they can shape action and interactions (Zbaracki 1998, Leonardi 2008, Martin 2016. Although nonobservational methods struggle to distinguish symbolic action and rhetoric from the reality of AI, scholars who take a relational ethnographic approach may be uniquely positioned to actually study positive narratives about AI, tracing their origins and consequences, and how they shape practices (Pachidi et al. 2021). ...
Article
In the wake of media hype about artificial intelligence (AI)/human collaboration, organizations are investing considerable resources into developing and using AI. In this paper, we draw on theories of technology in organizations to frame new directions for the study of what it means to work “with” AI. Drawing on prior literature, we consider how interactions between users and AI might unfold through theoretical lenses which cast technology as a tool and as a medium. Reflecting on how AI technologies diverge from technologies studied in the past, we propose a new perspective, which considers technology as a counterpart in a system of work that includes its design, implementation, and use. This perspective encourages developing a grounded understanding of how AI intersects with work, and therefore ethnography, building on thick descriptions, is an apt approach. We argue that relational ethnographic approaches can assist organization theorists in navigating the methodological challenges of taking a counterpart perspective and propose several strategies for future research.
... For example, more experienced employees might share stories of the early days of a venture with employees joining the venture later, and novice venture members might engage in rituals underlying these stories, such as celebrating important work milestones. This reinforcement contributes to newcomer socialization in the venture and increases the likelihood that newcomers enact the venture's values (Martin, 2016) and thus commit to the venture's culture. As a result, the body of venture members (including new joiners) experiences similar cultural information as relevant and binding for all venture members. ...
Article
Full-text available
As many new ventures are started by founding teams, it is these founding teams that likely engage in creating their venture’s culture. We draw on theories of cultural dynamics and the literature on team cognitive diversity to investigate the creation of a new venture’s culture. Specifically, we theorize how a founding team’s cognitive diversity impacts the team’s production of cultural information and the transmission of that information throughout the venture. Cognitive diversity directly influences the founding team’s production of cultural information by shaping the diversity of the information set and the speed of its production. Moreover, cognitive diversity can give rise to faultlines within the venture, impacting how venture members interpret cultural information. Importantly, our model suggests a complex interplay between the production and interpretation of cultural information. Understanding culture creation in new ventures is important because a new venture’s culture shapes its legitimacy and thus its access to stakeholder resources for venture emergence.
... Cultural translation necessarily is a balancing act, since it means to clarify the values and meanings of the community that gave rise to the text for an audience that may not share them. As Martin explains: "Values are abstract concepts" (Martin, 2016(Martin, , 1709. They pertain "to desirable end states or modes of conduct, that transcend specific situations, [and] guide the selection or evaluation of behavior, people, and events" (Schwarz 1990, 20). ...
Chapter
This essay introduces an interdisciplinary humanities course, titled Creative Cultural History, that teaches social and emotional learning (SEL) as a basis for equipping students with essential transferable skills enabling them to contribute to the creation of a more inclusive society. Providing an overview of neuroscientific studies of emotion, reading, and comprehension, the essay explains how and why stories and storytelling can engender openness toward cultural difference. To illustrate how storytelling can bridge cultural boundaries, the essay describes an interdisciplinary course that was developed and first taught by the author in the Department of English and Translation at Sultan Qaboos University, Oman. This course required its participants to collect cultural memories, folk- and fairytales from older members of their community, and then to retell them to audiences unfamiliar with the cultural backgrounds of their communities. As a preparation for this task, the students were introduced to the basics of social and emotional learning, particularly “double listening,” a technique that necessitates listening to the content of a story as well as listening to the non-verbal messages contained within the language used by the interlocutors. Discussing practical examples from student work, the essay demonstrates that the course expanded the emotional awareness of its participants while also making them more accepting of cultural differences. The results gathered from the initiative suggest that teaching social and emotional skills equips students with important interpersonal and communication skills. This enhances their ability to tell stories and increases their awareness of the needs of interlocutors, which in turn helps them to engender openness for cultural difference.KeywordsCreative cultural historySocial and emotional intelligenceCultural boundariesInterpersonal skillsCommunication skills
Article
We review cross‐disciplinary research on gossip and integrate it with two streams of theoretical scholarship: paradox theory and the communicative constitution of organization (CCO) perspective. In doing so, we develop what we label a paradox‐constitutive perspective of organizational gossip. Our perspective holds that gossip does not merely reflect or reveal organizational paradoxes but contributes to constituting them. Drawing on an extensive narrative literature review ( N = 184), we conceptualize organizational gossip as a socially constructed category of interpersonal communication that, paradoxically, is regarded as both an exceptionally reliable and exceptionally unreliable source of social information. In turn, we illustrate how this contradictory view of gossip engenders paradoxical tensions when gossip surfaces in organizational life, and we illuminate two specific tensions to which gossip contributes: resistance‐authority tensions and inclusion‐exclusion tensions. Our work has important implications for research on organizational gossip, paradox, and communication and suggests intriguing directions for future investigations.
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents a theory of potentially universal aspects in the content of human values. Ten types of values are distinguished by their motivational goals. The theory also postulates a structure of relations among the value types, based on the conflicts and compatibilities experienced when pursuing them. This structure permits one to relate systems of value priorities, as an integrated whole, to other variables. A new values instrument, based on the theory and suitable for cross-cultural research, is described. Evidence relevant for assessing the theory, from 97 samples in 44 countries, is summarized. Relations of this approach to Rokeach's work on values and to other theories and research on value dimensions are discussed. Application of the approach to social issues is exemplified in the domains of politics and intergroup relations.
Article
This work examines the moderating effects of status stability, legitimacy, and group permeability on in-group bias among high-and low-status groups. These effects were examined separately for evaluative measures that were relevant as well as irrelevant to the salient status distinctions. The results support social identity theory and show that high-status groups are more biased. The meta-analysis reveals that perceived status stability, legitimacy, and permeability moderate the effects of group status. Also, these variables interacted in their influences on the effect of group status on in-group bias, but this was only true for irrelevant evaluative dimensions. When status was unstable and perceived as illegitimate, low-status groups and high-status groups were equally biased when group boundaries were impermeable, compared with when they were permeable. Implications for social identity theory as well as for intergroup attitudes are discussed.
Article
Executives know they need to develop their company's next leaders, but many are disillusioned by all the once-promising fads that have come and gone. Some, however, have discovered how an approach that's as old as Homer can be one of the most effective means of developing high-potential managers.
Article
Addressing both renowned theories and standard applications, Stories of Life in the Workplace explains how stories affect human practices and organizational life. Authors Larry Browning and George H. Morris explore how we experience, interpret, and personalize narrative stories in our everyday lives, and how these communicative acts impact our social aims and interactions. in pushing the boundaries of how we perceive narrative and organization, the authors include stories that are broadly applicable across all concepts and experiences.
Article
Previous research has identified multiple approaches to the design and implementation of corporate ethics programs (Paine, 1994; Weaver, Treviño, and Cochran, in press b; Treviño, Weaver, Gibson, and Toffler, in press). This field survey in a large financial services company investigated the relationships of the values and compliance orientations in an ethics program to a diverse set of outcomes. Employees’ perceptions that the company ethics program is oriented toward affirming ethical values were associated with seven outcomes. Perceptions of a compliance orientation were associated with four of these outcomes. The interaction of values and compliance orientations was associated with employees’ willingness to report misconduct. In general, a values orientation makes a greater unique contribution to the measured outcomes when compared to a compliance orientation.