Organisations as soap operas : Leading change and continuity through narrative based OD

Murphy, Anne and Gosling, Jonathan (2022) Organisations as soap operas : Leading change and continuity through narrative based OD. In: Developing leaders for real : Proven approaches that deliver impact. Emerald, Bingley, 151–162. ISBN 9781800713659

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In this chapter we reflect on our experience as organisation development consultants to a multinational merger in which the overriding challenge was to sustain continuity through a series of potentially disruptive changes. Our approach was informed by an appreciation of narrative aspects of organising, on the basis of which we designed and implemented a series of interventions based on dramaturgical forms that we thought best suited the emerging leadership task of storytelling, drawing on norms from cinema, theatre and TV. In this chapter we focus on just one of these interventions, which we describe here in brief vignettes and follow with a more extended explanation of our thinking and its implications for wider application. We hope this demonstrates how working with narrative as a metaphor has helped leaders – individually and collectively – reframe their understanding and redirect their action. The period in question (1999 to 2002) represents one merger episode in an ongoing 15-year serial of renaming and repositioning. This episodic unfolding of events led us to choose soap opera as the metaphor which is most helpful in understanding the practice of leading continuity.

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04 Nov 2022 11:45
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26 Feb 2024 00:58