Case Studies as Narratives: Reflections Prompted by the Case of Victor, the Wild Child of Aveyron

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Abstract

Drawing on a celebrated case study of a feral child in France, the author argues that there are similarities between stories and case studies as types of narrative and that they are both capable of acting as insightful tools of management inquiry. Both case studies and stories call for narrative imagination to develop meaningful narratives. Serendipity, the accidental discovery of meaning or purpose in what seems random and purposeless, is an important part of narrative imagination. As meaningful narratives, both case studies and stories follow a structure of interwoven actions and events with beginnings, middles, and ends. However, where storytellers enjoy poetic license to distort facts for effect, case study researchers are more constrained by factual accuracy. The beginnings and ends of case studies are not as clearly defined as those of stories and fictional narratives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-408
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Management Inquiry
Volume28
Issue number4
Early online date21 Jun 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • affordance theory
  • case study
  • feral children
  • management learning
  • narrative
  • narrative imagination
  • serendipity
  • story

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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