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What's special about organizational storytelling?

 

Disciplines > Storytelling > Storytelling in organizations > What's special about organizational storytelling?

Truth | Familiarity | Personal | See also

 

So what's special about storytelling in organizations? What makes it different from normal storytelling?

Truth

Organizational stories are largely true, although it is possible that they become less true over time as they are elaborated or get distorted through forgetting of detail.

When something is true it is more credible and so has much greater power as a teaching story. Anxiety release stories are often recent enough not to have been distorted by time.

Familiarity

The context of stories told in organizations is generally well-known, making them easy to understand.

Familiarity leads to an assumption of truth, as if the context is true then the rest of the story may be accepted as true.

Familiarity also gives a sense of exclusivity, whereby the listener feels special because they know that they will understand the story whilst others may not.

Personal

Stories in organizations are often quite personal in nature, either being a direct experience of the storyteller or naming specific people.

When stories are less personal, this may also be significant, for example where a teaching tale about a 'bad' manager who is not named, perhaps indicating an aversion to embarrassment of individuals.

See also

Leadership stories, Heroic stories, Stories of failure

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