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Future Perfect? Conversion Stories and the Narration of Organizational Change

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journal contribution
posted on 05.06.2017, 03:13 by Bryant, Melanie, Cox, Julie Wolfram
In this paper, we present a set of narratives about organizational change in which employees' experiences are presented as conversion stories. Within these stories, employees contrast their negative views on personal career, organizational culture and employment relations before major structural change with much more positive post-change perspectives. Organizational change appears to be a turning point, and conversion stories are associated with improved career prospects. We discuss the progressive, optimistic and dramatic nature of the conversion stories in the context of the optimism of the knowledge economy, shifts in the nature of organizational change theory, discursive preferences for successful change, presentational and attributional factors within interview settings, retrospective data collection, and the particular local context in which the stories were told. We suggest that all of these factors may complicate the representation of the conversion story as an example of extreme and positive transformational organizational change, and discuss their implications for both the theory and practice of narrative change research.

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Year of first publication

2004

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Department of Management

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