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An investigation into extracting and analysing stories

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Purpose ‐ The use of storytelling as a knowledge elicitation tool has attracted much attention in recent years, yet there is limited literature on how to illicit or stimulate the story. This paper aims to find appropriate research instruments that stimulate storytelling and morph vocalised individual narratives into multifaceted stories that provide an insight into the emotions, politics and "life" of organizations. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper uses an in depth case-study approach undertaken within the UK Fire and Rescue emergency service and uses the concept of storytelling as a research instrument to elicit highly contextualized knowledge from knowledge holders. The intention is not to attempt to find an objective truth but rather to stimulate discursive openness. Findings ‐ The paper demonstrates that the developed story elicitation technique can stimulate storytelling and story creation. The research provides a simple formalism for structuring story elicitation and analysis. Research limitations/implications ‐ It would be useful if future research explored the use of the story elicitation technique presented here in other domains, particularly those where multiple stakeholders are involved and therefore there is the possibility of multiple "truths." Practical implications ‐ The story elicitation will make a practical contribution to the management "toolbox" providing managers with a mechanism for stimulating storytelling, especially in complex situations where multiple perspectives need to be considered. Originality/value ‐ This paper presents a non-prescriptive investigative tool for studying the multidimensional nature of storytelling and legitimisation.

Keywords: Fire services; Narratives; Research methods; Storytelling; United Kingdom

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 20, 2009


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