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Telling Stories about Strategies: A Narratological Approach to Marketing Planning

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An increasing amount of literature suggests that the narrative form is an important source of meaning in organisations and that it should be harnessed for strategic purposes. This paper argues for this perspective, reporting on some research carried out into marketing planning processes in a variety of organisations, where high incidences of storytelling occurred. The research demonstrates that the telling of stories is central to the sense making processes used by senior marketing staff as they go about making key marketing decisions. Previous research into marketing planning, much of it based on the rational technical paradigm, has seriously neglected this important dimension of sense making in organisations. The narratives used by the marketing managers in this study appear to strongly influence the way they construct meaning and act in organisational settings. Based on these findings, an alternative approach to marketing planning is outlined, one which takes full account of the narrative story telling mode in the construction of strategy. The case is that marketing planning, both in scholarly and practical terms, has rarely been subjected to a narratological perspective. This paper attempts to help remedy the situation.
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Keywords: INTERPRETATIVE; MARKETING PLANS; SENSEMAKING; STORIES

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2006

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