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2013/2014  BA-HAP_VNO  Narratives in Organizational Development

English Title
Narratives in Organizational Development

Course information

Language English
Exam ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration One Quarter
Course period Third Quarter
changes in schedule may occur.
tuesday 11.40-14.15 week 6,8,10-12 and
thursday 11.40-14.15 week 5-8,10-12
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Study board
Study Board for BSc/MSc in Business Administration and Psychology, BSc
Course coordinator
  • Søren Friis Møller - MPP
Administration: Karina Ravn Nielsen, electives.lpf@cbs.dk, 3815 3782.
Main academic disciplines
  • Business psychology
  • Communication
  • Management
  • Organization
Last updated on 15-10-2013
Learning objectives
To obtain the grade 12 the student must:

Demonstrate the ability to identify, analyze and assess concrete empirical cases in narrative terms.

Demonstrate knowledge of central concepts in narrative theory and method and the ability to apply these to empirical cases.

Demonstrate the ability to suggest various narrative approaches to empirical cases and to assess these with the aim of conceptualizing successful organizational development processes.

During the course the student will:
  • Learn about the central concepts in narrative theory and method.
  • Learn how to apply the central concepts in narrative theory and method to empirical cases.
  • Learn how to conceptualize organizational development processes drawing on narative theory and methods.
  • Learn how to identify, analyze and asses concrete empirical cases in narrative terms.
  • Learn how to persuasively explain and defend a selected narrative approach to an empirical organizational challenge.
Narratives in Organizational Development:
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance.
Individual or group exam Group exam, max. 3 students in the group
Group project with group oral exam.
Also possible to do it individually (max. 10 pages).
Size of written product Max. 20 pages
Assignment type Report
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Spring Term, After handing in the written report
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content and structure
Narratives are increasingly important in terms of understanding, influencing and changing organizational behaviour. Narratives, according to Bruner (1986, 1990) function as a double lens through which we organize our understanding of the world and ourselves. Thus, the organization can be seen as a narrative landscape and organizational processes as various ways around it.

During the course we will see how meaning in centrally placed in understanding the human mind, and how narratives combine landscapes of action with landscapes of consciousness to produce meaning. To initiate successful organizational development processes, we need to understand how the organization is currently made sense of through narratives and how changing it is dependent on changing the narratives. To successfully change the external perception of an organization, we need to understand how narratives are constructed, and how they may be constructed in ways which support the intended perception. And from a managerial perspective, we must understand how narrative landscapes and preferred ways around them may be framed and shaped by making certain narrative resources available for the construction of narratives. 

Tentative Readings:

Bruner, J., 1990, Acts of Meaning, Harvard University Press
Bruner, J., 2002, Making Stories - Law, Literature, Life, Harvard University Press
White, M. & Epston, D., 1990, Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends, W.W.Norton
Boje, D.M., 2008, Storytelling Organizations, Sage
Polkinghorne, D.E., 1988, Narrative Knowing and the Human Sciences, State University of New York Press
Potter, J. & Wetherell, M., 1987, Discourse and Social Psychology, Sage Publications
Fairhurst, G.T., 2007, Discursive Leadership in Conversation With Leadership Psychology, Sage Publications
Gubrium, J.F. & Holstein, J.A., 2009, Analyzing Narrative Reality, Sage 
Shotter, J., 2008, Conversational Realities Revisited: Life, Language, Body and World, Taos Institute
De Fina, A. & Georgakopoulou, A., 2012, Analyzing Narrative, Discourse and Sociolinguistic Perspectives, Cambridge
Somers, M.R., 1994, The Narrative Constitution of Identity: A Relational and Network Approach, Theory and Society, Vol. 23, 605-649
White, M., 2007, Maps of Narrative Practice, W.W.Norton & Co.
Teaching methods
The course will include dialogue based lectures, group based work, and class discussions of empirical cases.
Last updated on 15-10-2013