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Conversion stories as shifting narratives of organizational change

Conversion stories as shifting narratives of organizational change This paper is concerned with how employees talk about their experiences of organizational change and focuses specifically on the construction of conversion stories. These are particularly positive narratives that consider change as a turning point in which individuals depart from an old way of life pre‐change to embrace a post‐change organization. In this study, employees seek conversion into management groups and report the values and philosophies of management in their narratives, thus highlighting the benefits of change while suppressing any negative aspects. This paper draws attention to the dramatic nature of the conversion story and explores the sharp distinction between the reporting of experiences prior to and after change. We also investigate the relationship between constructing conversion stories and gaining personal and career advancement at work and suggest that beneath the positive exterior of the conversion narratives lies a theme of silence, which may be related to career advancement. Our findings suggest that such stories of silence complicate the conversion story as an example of positive organizational change and discuss implications for both the theory and practice of narrative change research. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Organizational Change Management Emerald Publishing

Conversion stories as shifting narratives of organizational change

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0953-4814
DOI
10.1108/09534810410564569
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper is concerned with how employees talk about their experiences of organizational change and focuses specifically on the construction of conversion stories. These are particularly positive narratives that consider change as a turning point in which individuals depart from an old way of life pre‐change to embrace a post‐change organization. In this study, employees seek conversion into management groups and report the values and philosophies of management in their narratives, thus highlighting the benefits of change while suppressing any negative aspects. This paper draws attention to the dramatic nature of the conversion story and explores the sharp distinction between the reporting of experiences prior to and after change. We also investigate the relationship between constructing conversion stories and gaining personal and career advancement at work and suggest that beneath the positive exterior of the conversion narratives lies a theme of silence, which may be related to career advancement. Our findings suggest that such stories of silence complicate the conversion story as an example of positive organizational change and discuss implications for both the theory and practice of narrative change research.

Journal

Journal of Organizational Change ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Dec 1, 2004

Keywords: Narratives; Organizational change; Employees

References