Turning Facts into Stories and Stories into Facts: A Hermeneutic Exploration of Organizational Folklore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper analyzes three organizational stories which the author encountered in different work and military organizations. Each story reveals a dual structure, a recital, which varies in different accounts, and a common core, referred to here as the myth. These myths are seen as collective fantasies, fulfilling shared desires and offering either opportunities for cathartic discharge or a partial inoculation against misfortune. It is argued that the meanings of organizational myths are neither transparent nor unambiguous, often expressing ambivalent and contradictory wishes and permitting different or competing interpretations. The three myths discussed in this paper were all found to be symbolic means of turning passivity into activity, powerlessness into control, and of offering consolations against pain and suffering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)857-875
Number of pages19
JournalHuman Relations
Volume44
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1991

Keywords

  • corporate fantasies
  • organizational myths
  • stories
  • symbolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

Cite this

Turning Facts into Stories and Stories into Facts : A Hermeneutic Exploration of Organizational Folklore. / Gabriel, Yiannis.

In: Human Relations, Vol. 44, No. 8, 01.01.1991, p. 857-875.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{ddc893b82e1c4d46be647c48369bd19a,
title = "Turning Facts into Stories and Stories into Facts: A Hermeneutic Exploration of Organizational Folklore",
abstract = "This paper analyzes three organizational stories which the author encountered in different work and military organizations. Each story reveals a dual structure, a recital, which varies in different accounts, and a common core, referred to here as the myth. These myths are seen as collective fantasies, fulfilling shared desires and offering either opportunities for cathartic discharge or a partial inoculation against misfortune. It is argued that the meanings of organizational myths are neither transparent nor unambiguous, often expressing ambivalent and contradictory wishes and permitting different or competing interpretations. The three myths discussed in this paper were all found to be symbolic means of turning passivity into activity, powerlessness into control, and of offering consolations against pain and suffering.",
keywords = "corporate fantasies, organizational myths, stories, symbolism",
author = "Yiannis Gabriel",
year = "1991",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1177/001872679104400806",
language = "English",
volume = "44",
pages = "857--875",
journal = "Human Relations",
issn = "0018-7267",
publisher = "Sage Publications",
number = "8",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Turning Facts into Stories and Stories into Facts

T2 - A Hermeneutic Exploration of Organizational Folklore

AU - Gabriel, Yiannis

PY - 1991/1/1

Y1 - 1991/1/1

N2 - This paper analyzes three organizational stories which the author encountered in different work and military organizations. Each story reveals a dual structure, a recital, which varies in different accounts, and a common core, referred to here as the myth. These myths are seen as collective fantasies, fulfilling shared desires and offering either opportunities for cathartic discharge or a partial inoculation against misfortune. It is argued that the meanings of organizational myths are neither transparent nor unambiguous, often expressing ambivalent and contradictory wishes and permitting different or competing interpretations. The three myths discussed in this paper were all found to be symbolic means of turning passivity into activity, powerlessness into control, and of offering consolations against pain and suffering.

AB - This paper analyzes three organizational stories which the author encountered in different work and military organizations. Each story reveals a dual structure, a recital, which varies in different accounts, and a common core, referred to here as the myth. These myths are seen as collective fantasies, fulfilling shared desires and offering either opportunities for cathartic discharge or a partial inoculation against misfortune. It is argued that the meanings of organizational myths are neither transparent nor unambiguous, often expressing ambivalent and contradictory wishes and permitting different or competing interpretations. The three myths discussed in this paper were all found to be symbolic means of turning passivity into activity, powerlessness into control, and of offering consolations against pain and suffering.

KW - corporate fantasies

KW - organizational myths

KW - stories

KW - symbolism

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84973709281&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/001872679104400806

DO - 10.1177/001872679104400806

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84973709281

VL - 44

SP - 857

EP - 875

JO - Human Relations

JF - Human Relations

SN - 0018-7267

IS - 8

ER -