This book is the story of how four busy executives, from different backgrounds and different perspectives, were surprised to find themselves converging on the idea of narrative as an extraordinarily valuable lens for understanding and managing organizations in the twenty-first century. The idea that narrative and storytelling could be so powerful a tool in the world of organizations was initially counter-intuitive. But in their own words, John Seely Brown, Steve Denning, Katalina Groh, and Larry Prusak describe how they came to see the power of narrative and storytelling in their own experience working on knowledge management, change management, and innovation strategies in organizations such as Xerox, the World Bank, and IBM.
Storytelling in Organizations lays out for the first time why narrative and storytelling should be part of the mainstream of organizational and management thinking. This case has not been made before. The tone of the book is also unique. The engagingly personal and idiosyncratic tone comes from a set of presentations made at a Smithsonian symposium on storytelling in April 2001. Reading it is as stimulating as spending an evening with Larry Prusak or John Seely Brown. The prose is probing, playful, provocative, insightful and sometime profound. It combines the liveliness and freshness of spoken English with the legibility of a ready-friendly text. Interviews will all the authors done in 2004 add a new dimension to the material, allowing the authors to reflect on their ideas and clarify points or highlight ideas that may have changed or deepened over time.