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Anne Vorre Hansen

The aim of the chapter is to discuss the possible use of narrative methodology in service innovation research by giving an empirical example of a service innovation process deeply rooted in narrative methodology. To take a narrative approach is to acknowledge stories as being conditional for human organizing and socializing. Therefore, narrative analysis is seen as a way to explore experiences and to play with future scenarios. As such, narratives have been used both to gain insight about customers and to create new stories of service relationships. The chapter presents the design, process and outcome of an innovation workshop, held in a non-profit housing association in Denmark. The case reveals how creating stories seems intuitive to the participants and how employees and residents, by co-creation of new “service” stories, found a neutral place for development, which is why the process in itself became an outcome. The intention is to present the framework of narrative methodology as a profitable mindset in service innovation processes rather than to present a fixed method. Hopefully, the chapter will be an inspiration for both doing and studying service innovation prospectively.

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Theorizing in Organization Studies

Insights from Key Thinkers

Anne Vorre Hansen and Sabine Madsen

While many books provide guidance to the construction of theory, the process of theorizing itself has been addressed far less. The aim of this book is to encourage researchers to reflect upon their subjective theorizing practices and to engage in dialogue about theorizing in organization studies. Drawing on interviews with eight key figures in the field, this book provides guidance for how to theorize, and how to do so well, using the key tools of the theorizers.
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Anne Vorre Hansen and Sabine Madsen

Chapter 1 is an introductory chapter that presents the purpose of the book: to inspire junior and senior researchers to reflect upon their subjective theorizing practices and engage in dialogue about theorizing in organization studies. Furthermore, the chapter reveals the background for writing the book and the process that made the book come about. Also the contributors of the book, David Boje, Barbara Czarniawska, Kenneth Gergen, Tor Hernes, Geert Hofstede, Edgar Schein, Andrew Van de Ven and Karl Weick, are introduced alongside the interview data that forms the basis for the analysis presented in the forthcoming chapters. Moreover, considerations about gender, reference styles and reading strategies are put forward and the structure and main themes of the book are outlined.

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Anne Vorre Hansen and Sabine Madsen

Chapter 2 dives into the main theme of the book: theorizing as concept, as dialogue and as practice. First, a short introduction to perceptions of knowledge production, based in ancient Greek philosophy, is given. Based on the contributors’ reflections, this is followed by a discussion of what theory is and what theory aims at. Subsequently, personal practices and subjective inspiration are presented, creating a base for pinpointing the dialogical and social dimensions of theorizing. Moreover, these reflections are nuanced through points regarding the beauty of theory and the notion of finding your own voice as researcher.

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Anne Vorre Hansen and Sabine Madsen

Chapter 3 is concerned with what makes you think, that is, the subject matter, ideas and topics that trigger curiosity and an urge to think beyond what is already there. The chapter starts with a short introduction to existential phenomenology to set the scene regarding the focus on practice studies as foundation for theorizing. This is followed by the contributors’ reflections on their own approach to practice, what conditions the emergence of interesting research topics and how both choice and chance influence and shape the research path. In continuation thereof, the notion of data, what constitutes data and how it is addressed, are reflected upon.

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Anne Vorre Hansen and Sabine Madsen

Chapter 4 focuses on the interplay between the existing literature, the academic community, as well as the context in which research takes place. Thus, the chapter explores how people, places and publications influence theorizing. The concept of intertextuality is used as the theoretical lens for identifying different types of reading and writing practices as well as for discussing the relation between existing texts and novel contributions. The metaphor of ‘academic family’ is introduced to unfold the contributors’ reflections on their own academic antecedents, how they engage in dialogue with literature and how this also supports a feeling of belonging to a field.

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Anne Vorre Hansen and Sabine Madsen

Chapter 5 discusses what it means to make a contribution. The interviews reveal that contributing is perceived more broadly than merely publishing an academic text. It also means to contribute to society at large or to a specific person. Moreover, the identification of a ten-year loop of academic knowledge production and the retrospective aspects of what the academic and/or practice community pick up and consider a contribution are applied to argue for the term theory-in-the-making. The chapter also challenges the notion that a theoretical contribution identifies and fills a gap in the literature and instead highlights how academic fashion, temporal aspects and academic maturity influence what is perceived as a contribution – both by the researcher as an individual, by the academic community and by practice.

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Anne Vorre Hansen and Sabine Madsen

Chapter 6 sums up the main points from the book both regarding views on theorizing and the practices of the contributors. It is emphasized that theories are applied to reduce complexity and to better understand phenomena, that theorizing is about engaging in dialogue with existing thoughts and that the process itself can be triggered by aesthetic concerns, what bounces back at you and anxiety. In addition, the inherent critique of the current academic system in the interview material is reflected upon and it is discussed whether the review and reward process of academia supports academic craftsmanship and idiosyncratic creativity, which seem to be the two cornerstones of theorizing. Finally, the reader is encouraged to find or refine his or her own voice as a researcher, thinker and theorizer.

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Anne Vorre Hansen and Sabine Madsen