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Conversion stories as shifting narratives of organizational change


Bryant, M and Wolfam Cox, J, Conversion stories as shifting narratives of organizational change, Journal of Organizational Change Management, 17, (6) pp. 578-592. ISSN 0953-4814 (2004) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1108/09534810410564569


his paper is concerned with how employees talk about their experiences of organizational change and focuses specifically on the construction of conversion stories. These are particularly positive narratives that consider change as a turning point in which individuals depart from an old way of life pre‐change to embrace a post‐change organization. In this study, employees seek conversion into management groups and report the values and philosophies of management in their narratives, thus highlighting the benefits of change while suppressing any negative aspects. This paper draws attention to the dramatic nature of the conversion story and explores the sharp distinction between the reporting of experiences prior to and after change. We also investigate the relationship between constructing conversion stories and gaining personal and career advancement at work and suggest that beneath the positive exterior of the conversion narratives lies a theme of silence, which may be related to career advancement. Our findings suggest that such stories of silence complicate the conversion story as an example of positive organizational change and discuss implications for both the theory and practice of narrative change research.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:narratives, organizational change, employees
Research Division:Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Research Group:Strategy, management and organisational behaviour
Research Field:Organisational planning and management
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in commerce, management, tourism and services
UTAS Author:Bryant, M (Professor Melanie Bryant)
ID Code:114021
Year Published:2004
Web of Science® Times Cited:21
Deposited By:TSBE
Deposited On:2017-02-02
Last Modified:2017-02-02

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