A Narrative Approach to Business Growth

A Narrative Approach to Business Growth

Mona Ericson

Mona Ericson conceptualizes business growth using a participatory narrative approach, adopting story-like representations of growth activity. This approach emphasizes the use of description, conceptualization, knowledge sharing and interpretation. It connects the subject and the researcher allowing the latter to better understand the actual practice of growing a business, while also extending the study to the novice and general reader alike.

Chapter 4: To Begin the Business Growth Narrative

Mona Ericson

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, organisation studies, strategic management


In response to the ongoing nature of business growth, the ‘beginning’ and ‘ending’ of the business growth narrative become issues of unpredictability and construction, since it does not have a beginning or an ending. As Hjorth (2007: 723) puts it, ‘the beginning is always a result of preceding beginnings flowing into a subsequent one, related not chronologically like rills relate to streams.’ Without recourse to a metanarrative the business growth narrative also lacks a definitive ending. ‘The old metanarratives sinned in their ambition to end a conversation by trying to predict its outcomes. If a canon is already known, there is nothing left to talk about,’ Czarniawska (2004: 13) notes. The beginning of the business growth narrative is constructed and made sense of in the dialogue with the son of the founder of the business. In its call upon the past, it engages in an interpretation and understanding made through the lived experience of the founder’s son. FATHER AND SON Today in his 80s, Olle Andersson looks back on a time when he, as a very young man, was involved in different activities. Being in charge of the business for 30 years, all through 1957–87, he also shared the ownership of the business with his wife Britta. To begin with, the narrative provides glimpses of Hilding Andersson and the 1939 starting-up of a business for manufacturing beds, sofas, chairs, tables and rocking chairs. The place was Bjärnum, a municipality situated in the province of Skåne in...

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