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Storytelling in OrganizationsFacts, Fictions, and Fantasies$
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Yiannis Gabriel

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198290957

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198290957.001.0001

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Stories, Symbolism, and Culture

Stories, Symbolism, and Culture

(p.87) Chapter 4 Stories, Symbolism, and Culture
Storytelling in Organizations

Yiannis Gabriel

Oxford University Press

This chapter locates storytelling within the cultural fabric of different organizations and examines what stories can tell researchers about these organizations and their cultures. The chapter offers further illustrations of interpretation, elaborating the relationship between the fantasy life of individuals and groups and an organization's cultural artefacts, such as stories, jokes, and symbols. The chapter concludes with a detailed discussion of one particular story, encountered in a navy training camp. This story is shown to be the point of convergence for a number of fantasies held by organizational participants. This chapter argues that certain fantasies, instead of integrating individuals and groups into the organization, enable participants to distance themselves from it by presenting the organization as an object of derision and disparagement. Organizational culture and its artefacts equip the individual with protective armour against the type of misfortune and suffering that characterize contemporary organizations. Organizational culture, like all culture, has a consolatory function, compensating for the frustrations of life in organizations.

Keywords:   storytelling, consolation, fantasy, stories, jokes, symbols, organizational culture

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