Chapter

Turning to Narrative

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Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is twofold. First, it will examine the period leading up to the ‘narrative turn’1 and the debates which have emerged in the context of organisational change following the uptake of narrative as a device for studying organisations. Second, through an examination of the narrative-based virtue ethics concepts of MacIntyre it will identify areas where this study can make a contribution. In Chapter 3, we saw how there has been some exploration of organisational change using narrative and that this methodology has revealed that narrative and stories construct meaning and social reality to participants. There is also an acceptance that a multiplicity of stories, polyphony, is observed when narrative approaches are employed. When change is happening further stories are enacted which offer insight into what change means to organisational actors. The nature of those stories with regard to what they construct into the unfolding and changing social reality has been viewed from dramatic (Czarniawska 1997) and emotional and interpretational (Downing 1997) perspectives but as yet the moral perspective of narrative-organisational change has received little if any attention. Even a recent upsurge of interest in studying the morality of the management of organisations from Weberian (e.g. Watson 2003; Dyck & Weber 2006) and MacIntyrian (e.g. Moore & Beadle 2006) perspectives has only made passing reference to organisational change.

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