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On the Quality and Legitimacy of Green Narratives in Business: A Framework for Evaluation

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Abstract

Narrative is increasingly being recognised as an important tool both to manage and understand organisations. In particular, narrative is recognised to have an important influence on the perception of environmental issues in business, a particularly contested area of modern management. Management literature is, however, only beginning to develop a framework for evaluating the quality and legitimacy of narratives. Due to the highly fluid nature of narratives, the traditional notion of truth as reflecting ‹objective reality’ is not useful here. In this article, an alternative approach that evaluates a narrative in two stages is developed. First, a horizontal reading investigates the surface of the narrative, its textual features, instrumental devices and its integrity as a text, to assess the quality of a narrative. Second, a more philosophical or vertical reading makes explicit the underlying value assumptions that author and reader bring to the writing and reading of the narrative to assess the narrative’s claim to legitimacy. The framework is then tested against a narrative on the relationship between business and environment as espoused by a supply chain manager of a UK-based manufacturing company.

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Correspondence to Lutz Preuss.

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Preuss, L., Dawson, D. On the Quality and Legitimacy of Green Narratives in Business: A Framework for Evaluation. J Bus Ethics 84, 135–149 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-008-9693-4

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Keywords

  • management
  • narrative
  • environment