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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, Culture, and Politics

Stories, Culture, and Politics

(p.111) Chapter 5 Stories, Culture, and Politics
Storytelling in Organizations

Yiannis Gabriel

Oxford University Press

This chapter locates stories and storytelling within an organization's politics. It shows that both the Freudian and Marxist positions can contribute to an understanding of storytelling as embedded in organizational politics but also organizational politics as embedded in storytelling. This chapter proposes that within every organization, there is an uncolonized terrain, a terrain that cannot be managed, where people can engage in all kinds of unsupervised, spontaneous activities. This terrain is referred to as the unmanaged organization, a kind of organizational dreamworld dominated by desires, anxieties, and emotions. The chief force in the unmanaged organization is fantasy and its landmarks include various folkloric elements, jokes, gossip, nicknames, cartoons, and stories. This chapter argues that fantasy can offer a third way to the individual and groups, which amounts to a symbolic refashioning of official organizational practices in the interest of pleasure, allowing a temporary supremacy of emotion over rationality and of uncontrol over control.

Keywords:   stories, storytelling, organizational politics, unmanaged organization, desires, anxieties, emotions, fantasy, rationality, control

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