Title page for ETD etd-02062003-202707

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Arnette, Betsy
Author's Email Address bearnett@vt.edu
URN etd-02062003-202707
Title Story as an Approach for Facilitating a Knowledge Management Innovation
Degree PhD
Department Human Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Wiswell, Albert K. Committee Chair
Boucouvalas, Marcie Committee Member
Cline, Marvin Gerald Committee Member
Morris, Linda E. Committee Member
Smith, Linda Committee Member
  • Knowledge Management
  • Organization
  • Storytelling
Date of Defense 2003-01-14
Availability unrestricted

The ontology of organizational story begs us to discover when stories work best and why. Is there a best practice for creating and telling stories? This study examined one organization’s use of storytelling as a means of facilitating an innovation and what happened from the perspective of the storyteller. The study revealed the role of storytelling during the organizational initiative. This qualitative study analyzed eleven written and oral stories using grounded theory. Also using grounded theory, six tellers’ interviews were analyzed to gain the tellers’ perspective of the role of story. Storyteller selection was based on those who had consistently told the stories throughout the initiative and were interested in the effort being successful. The study revealed an implicit message that was intended to be understood in gaining full acceptance of the initiative. Based on the results of this study, the story promoting innovation contained four consistent characteristics: event, dilemma, consequence(s) and outcome. The true event used in the story was relevant and known by most personnel. The dilemma contained the implicit tension created when choosing to go against the organizational practice and norm. The consequence(s) in the story always conveyed success. The outcome represented the personal benefits obtained. To improve on the story used to promote the new knowledge management innovation, the organization might further examine its explicit and implicit norms and address the emergent concerns and vulnerabilities of the characters in the story.

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