When asked in our recent Australian wide survey on the attitudes and awareness of story and narrative in organisations “How much have you heard or read about narrative and story methods for business?” the response from the 390 participating HR Managers, GMs, Directors and others was on the whole some or not much. (See figure below).
Even though the majority of our participants had read little around the approaches of story and narrative methods in business, when asked which areas they felt might have the greatest application and use for story approaches the area of organisational culture change was the clear leader.
The top 4 areas which emerged being considered useful for story were:
- 37.1 % Organisational culture change initiatives
- 32.6 % Enhancing leaders ability to motivate
- 32.2 % Enhancing leaders ability to communicate vision, goals and direction
- 31.4 % Organisational learning initiatives
It may come as no surprise to some that story has utility with working with culture. The work of Jung and Campbell, although controversial, was all grounded in story to explore cultures. It is also through story where we can learn the most about organisational culture. Think about those first few days in a new job, or in a new organisation. Think about the water cooler conversations you might have overheard. The tea-room stories shared. All of these stories provide a powerful way to learn about a companies culture. Yep, it makes sense to me that our participants might have intuited that story is useful for organisational culture change initiatives.
About Andrew Rixon