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 8: Pattern, Plot and Narrative Rationality

Mona Ericson

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

Extract

The study of business growth, presented through a variety of stories referring to the son of the founder, a merger, brand portfolio-building and to the sale of Hilding Anders, integrates theoretical-philosophical and methodological concerns. Based on a participatory narrative approach, it opens up the possibility of ongoing interactions between the empirical-oriented material and different theoretical concepts, grounded in narrative as well as in nonnarrative studies of growth, bringing together theory and practice. Embracing Gadamerian lived experience and belongingness to the world, this approach elevates intersubjectivity and relationality, allowing for the development of performative knowledge. The need for more performatively defined knowledge, Hjorth emphasizes: Social studies of science have concluded that all science is situated knowledge and it follows that we need an approach and a language that will allow for a more performatively defined knowledge. A narrative approach, and narrative forms of knowledge, holds much promise in this sense. It is in such forms that knowledge has been carried forth. Narratives have always functioned as storehouse of practices and reflections thereon. (Hjorth, 2006: 712–13) A synoptic account, as opposed to a performative account, approaches growth as an accomplished event, describing the causal antecedents and consequences of this event (Tsoukas and Chia, 2002). Although the present study offers little direct acquaintance with fluidity and indivisibility of business growers’ reality, it provides some material on their interactions and activities and the change entailed. By turning our attention to business growth as exposed through dialogues with practitioners and written material, we can...

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