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Re-Authoring Leadership Narratives With and Within Organizations

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Abstract

there was an organisation that was doing very important work at a very important time in our world. Some may say that this work was being done in some of the harshest conditions imaginable. Over the years of their short existence as an organisation, a narrative started to emerge and was told and re‐told, which was later called Failure and Invisibility. This narrative constantly chanted that the work leaders were doing did not make a difference, was not even done well, and nobody knew about this work, so did it really have an impact?

This chapter will provide a lens and practices that can guide leaders, OD practitioners, and organisations in re‐authoring and co‐authoring organisational narratives with work‐communities. We will explore the role of narratives in understanding organisational culture, as well as the role of leadership in the authoring and co‐authoring of organisational narratives. We will also unpack how the societal context with its taken‐for‐granted beliefs and ideas dictate what is possible in organisations and further explore how these beliefs and ideas can be disrupted. This chapter will provide an invitation for the subordinate storylines of leadership to come out of the shadows and inform the reader of alternative ways of co‐constructing and co‐authoring organisations. Lastly, we will unpack what it means when organisations are seen as ongoing conversations (Bushe and Marshak 2015a) and leaders are invited to be entrepreneurs of meaning (Hamel 2009, p. 93) and conversation weavers (Goppelt et al. 2015, p. 376).

Keywords

  • Organisational Reality
  • Impact Organisation
  • Work Leader
  • Ongoing Conversation
  • Universal Practice

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

An earlier version of this chapter was originally published in the OD Practitioner, 2016, 48(2), 21–29 and was adapted from a chapter in the book: Velsdman, T. H., and Johnson, A. (Eds.) (2016) Leadership: perspectives from the front line. Randburg, ZA: KR Publishing.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Throughout the chapter this organisational narrative will be our teacher in explaining the re‐authoring lens and practices. This is a narrative of one of my clients, with whom I recently had the privilege to journey. They have given me permission to use parts of their narrative for the purpose of this chapter. This organisational and leadership narrative will be our guide in explaining the re‐authoring lens and practices throughout the chapter.

  2. 2.

    K. Sandison, personal communication: notes on draft chapter, in an email received on 7 November 2015.

  3. 3.

    W. Tonninger, personal communication: notes on draft chapter, in an email received on 9 November 2015.

  4. 4.

    T. Carlson, personal communication: notes on draft chapter, in an email received on 11 November 2015.

  5. 5.

    K. Sandison, personal communication: notes on draft chapter, in an email received on 7 November 2015.

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Correspondence to Chené Swart .

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Swart, C. (2017). Re-Authoring Leadership Narratives With and Within Organizations. In: Chlopczyk, J. (eds) Beyond Storytelling. Springer Gabler, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-54157-9_8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-54157-9_8

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