Narratives

September 6, 2007 at 3:00 am Leave a comment

GreeceTeaching at Uni gives you access to a myriad of journals. And so I came across a special issue on narratives in the The Journal of Business Venturing (Vol 22 issue 5, September 2007). But for those without access, a quick summary. The issue focuses on entrepreneurial narratives. Seven articles are presented with the first being Terry Allen’s story. Told on tape and transcribed in 1984, it is the story of how he started a toy store, in Rutland, Vermont US in 1965. Entitled the Toy Store(y), it serves as the basis for six articles that apply narrative approaches. The article was given to scholars with the title of “A Toy Store(y)”(as a play-on-words about the topic of the narrative) with no other identifying characteristics. Scholars were asked to “fill in the blanks” with their own assumptions of necessary information in order to generate analyses of the story.

Three broad insights are offered:

  • Stories are never complete in and of themselves. Stories are told in a particular context, to particular listeners, by a particular story teller, for particular purposes. When a story is subject to various narrative approaches, a variety of insights can be gained as to what is really being said and why, as well as what wasn’t said.
  • Stories are told in the larger context of other stories and ideas: “larger voices.” To listen/read a story offers an opportunity to engage in how a story interrelates to other “larger voices” that readers/listeners bring with them. To call on these “larger voices” through narrative approaches has value analytically and creatively.
  • Narrative approaches come with their own epistemology, theories, and methods that must be met on their own terms.

Since story construction is the process of creating reality, what the special issue offers is a look into the process of “telling back”, which surfaces the models used to talk about entrepreneurship. Narrative approaches reveal the models used to talk about entrepreneurship and provide new ways to talk about and gain knowledge of entrepreneurship.

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Entry filed under: Narratives, Useful resources.

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