chapter  2
16 Pages

An Open Architecture for Organizational Narratology

This book cultivates appreciation for-and celebrates the beauty, power, and usefulness of-stories in organizational life. To set the stage for the discussions of the six angles for narrative appreciation contained in the following chapters, in this chapter we propose what we term an “open architecture” for the analysis of organizational narratives. Our approach is analogous to open architecture of computer operating systems, like Linux, in comparison with proprietary systems, such as Apple’s OS X or Microsoft’s Windows. One advantage of open architecture is that there is a common platform users must employ, but wide latitude beyond that for them to augment and refine the system. The system thus has the potential to get better, faster. The other key advantage is the democratic nature of open architecture; anyone with the requisite knowledge and skill can add to it, so its future capabilities are less restricted. Applications that the original designers could not anticipate can be incorporated into the system by the universe of designers seeking to augment it. In this case, our idea of open architecture is composed of eight premises about

the nature of organizational narratives with which existing narrative research is consistent, along with six angles for deepening narrative appreciation. We are essentially recommending that narratologists examine the goodness of fit between their favored approaches to narrative and the eight premises we identify, then use one or more of the six angles to deepen their understanding of and appreciation for a particular narrative and narratives in general. Since we are proposing an open architecture for subsequent narrative analysis and

research, our approach invites augmentation and refinement. We explain our position by offering and expounding upon eight premises about the nature of organizational narratives. As we discuss each of these premises, we call attention to a few of the

prominent scholars of narrative whose work is aligned with or diverges significantly from our approach. Where there are major points of divergence between ours and others’ approaches, we will point them out without dwelling upon them. In the conclusion of this chapter, we amplify on what our open architecture for

narratology affords for organizational actors and researchers.