‘Kill Bill’ and the change agent: a multi-genre approach to organizational stories
Bryant, M and Frahm, J, Kill Bill' and the change agent: a multi-genre approach to organizational stories, Journal of Management & Organization, 17, (6) pp. 797-811. ISSN 1833-3672 (2011) [Refereed Article]
This paper argues that change practitioners could benefit from expanding change communication strategies to allow for the emergence and use of multi-genre change stories in place of minimalist storylines. We argue that minimalist storylines do not acknowledge the polyvocal view of change that has been discussed in storytelling theory or engage with multiple modes of understanding and suggest that change agents adopt a multi-genre approach to storytelling to address this gap. Drawing from Quentin Tarantino's movies Kill Bill 1 & 2 as an example of how stories can be constructed, this paper proposes that the use of multiple story genres increases the likelihood of audiences finding a genre they can relate to, thus increasing better audience reach. Findings suggest that existing change narrative types can be viewed as genres of organizational change and added to change agents' repertoires to make change communication interventions more appropriate and appealing to employees. While our paper aims to provide a conceptual way forward for change agents, we acknowledge that change agents need to engage with living stories in the future. Living stories recognize the multiple loose ends developed from past and present change experiences that can be used to construct new stories, which are more likely to transform organizations and acknowledge the unfolding nature of change.