Observing to Coproduce a Collective Narrative: Emplotment of Multiple Parallel Stories

  • Justine Arnoud Univ Paris Est Créteil, IRG, F-94010 Créteil, France; Univ Gustave Eiffel, IRG, F-77447 Marne-la-Vallée, France
  • Hélène Peton Univ Paris Est Créteil, IRG, F-94010 Créteil, France; Univ Gustave Eiffel, IRG, F-77447 Marne-la-Vallée, France
Keywords: Dynamic observation, Co-construction of meaning, Narrative, Emplotment, Ricoeur

Abstract

Observation captures complex organizational phenomena in situ. The literature on this method explains the possible data collection methods but says less about the use and organization of the data collected. As a result, the question of the meaning of observation data remains open. This article explores that question with the focus on a specific form of observation, dynamic observation, which can grasp indeterminate situations whose meaning is elusive for both practitioners and the researcher. Drawing on the work of Ricœur, we propose a conceptual tool kit founded on mimesis. We show that organizing observation data into a plot and narrative, through an inquiry conducted by researchers and practitioners together, can shed light both on the observation data and the situation observed. We embody our method by applying this tool kit to a dynamic observation conducted in a high-risk industry. We discuss the methodological issues of this co-construction of shared meaning and its role in restoring centrality to observation in the management sciences, and resituating the situations and the actors as core concerns.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References


Allard-Poesi, F., Germain, O., Huault, I. & Koenig, G. (2014). Les théories des organisations sont-elles bien inspirées ? Quatre regards. Economies et Sociétés Série K Économie de l’Entreprise, 23(1), 111–140.


Allard-Poesi, F. & Perret, V. (2004). La construction collective du problème dans la recherche-action: Difficultés, ressorts et enjeux. Finance Contrôle Stratégie, 7(4), 5–36.


Anteby, M. (2013). Relaxing the taboo on telling our own stories: Upholding professional distance and personal involvement. Organization Science, 24(4), 1277–1290. doi: 10.1287/orsc.1120.0777


Asmuß, B. & Oshima, S. (2018). Strategy making as a communicative practice: The multimodal accomplishment of strategy roles. M@n@gement, 21(2), 884–912. doi: 10.3917/mana.212.0884


Banks, M. (2007). Using visual data in qualitative research. London: Sage. doi: 10.4135/9780857020260


Bardon, T., Brown, A. D. & Pezé, S. (2017). Identity regulation, identity work and phronesis. Human Relations, 70(8), 940–965. doi: 10.1177/0018726716680724


Barley, S. R. & Kunda, G. (2001). Bringing work back in. Organization Science, 12(1), 76–95. doi: 10.1287/orsc.12.1.76.10122


Bastien, S. (2007). Observation participante ou participation observante? Usages et justifications de la notion de participation observante en sciences sociales. Recherches Qualitatives, 27(1), 127–140.


Baumard, P., Donada, C., Ibert, J. & Xuereb, J. M. (2014). La collecte des données et la gestion de leurs sources. In R. A. Thietart, et al. (Eds.), Méthodes de recherche en management (pp. 261–296). Paris: Dunod.


Bernstein, E. (2017). Making transparency transparent: The evolution of observation in management theory. Academy of Management Annals, 11(1), 217–266. doi: 10.5465/annals.2014.0076


Boje, D. M. (1991). The storytelling organization: A study of story performance in an office-supply firm. Administrative Science Quarterly, 36(1), 106–126. doi: 10.2307/2393432


Boje, D. M. & Rosile, G. A. (1997). Restorying engineering: Some deconstructions and postmodern alternatives. Communications Research, 24(6), 631–669.


Bonnemain, A., Perrot, E. & Kostulski, K. (2015). Le processus d’observation, son développement et ses effets dans la méthode des autoconfrontations croisées en clinique de l’activité. Activités, 12(2), 98–124. doi: 10.4000/activites.1111


Boudès, T. & Browning, L. D. (2005). La dialectique entre listes et récits au sein des organisations. Revue Française de Gestion, 6(159), 233–246. doi: 10.3166/rfg.159.233–246


Boudès, T. & Laroche, H. (2009). Récits de crise en quête de responsables. L’Expansion Management Review, 2(133), 10–19. doi: 10.3917/emr.133.0010


Bruni, A. (2006). Access as trajectory: Entering the field in organizational ethnography. M@n@gement, 9(3), 137–152. doi: 10.3917/mana.093.0137


Cunliffe, A. L. (2002). Social poetics as management inquiry. A dialogical approach. Journal of Management Inquiry, 11(2), 128–146. doi: 10.1177/10592602011002006


Cunliffe, A. L. (2011). Crafting qualitative research: Morgan and Smircich 30 years on. Organizational Research Methods, 14(4), 647–673. doi: 10.1177/1094428110373658


Cunliffe, A. L., Luhman, J. T. & Boje, D. (2004). Narrative temporality: Implications for organizational research. Organization Studies, 25(2), 261–286. doi: 10.1177/0170840604040038


Czarniawska, B. (1998). A narrative approach to organizational studies. London: Sage. doi: 10.4135/9781412983235


Czarniawska, B. (2004). Narratives in social science research. Introducing qualitative methods. London: Sage.


Daiute, C. & Lightfoot, C. (2004). Narrative analysis: Studying the development of individuals in society. Thousand Oaks, CA:Sage.


Dewey, J. (1938/1967). Logic: The theory of inquiry. New York, NY: Holt (traduit en Français en 1967, Logique. La théorie de l’enquête), Paris: PUF.


Dion, M. (2012). The moral discourse of banks about money laundering: An analysis of the narrative from Paul Ricoeur’s philosophical perspective. Business Ethics: A European Review, 21(3), 251–262. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8608.2012.01655.x


Easterby-Smith, M. (2005). Book review: Narrative analysis: Studying the development of individuals in society. Organizational Research Methods, 8(3), 345–346. doi: 10.1177/1094428105277418


Fenton, C. & Langley, A. (2011). Strategy as practice and the narrative turn. Organization Studies, 32(9), 1171–1196. doi: 10.1177/0170840611410838


Gabriel, Y. (1991). Turning facts into stories and stories into facts: A hermeneutic exploration of organizational folklore. Human Relations, 44(8), 857–875. doi: 10.1177/001872679104400806


Gabriel, Y. (2000). Storytelling in organizations: Facts, fictions, and fantasies. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.


Gill, M. J. (2014). The possibilities of phenomenology for organizational research. Organizational Research Methods, 17, 118–137. doi: 10.1177/1094428113518348


Gill, M. J., Gill, D. J. & Roulet, T. J. (2018). Constructing trustworthy historical narratives: Criteria, principles and techniques. British Journal of Management, 29, 191–205. doi: 10.1111/1467-8551.12262


Girin, J. (1989). L’opportunisme méthodique dans la recherche sur la gestion des organisations. Journée d’Etude de l’AFCET. Talk presented at l’Ecole Centrale, AFCET: la recherche-action en action et en question, 10 March, Paris: France.


Girin, J. & Journé, B. (1997). La conduite d’une centrale nucléaire au quotidien. Les vertus méconnues du facteur humain. Les Petits Déjeuners “Confidences”. Talk presented at L’Ecole de Paris du Management, 21 October, Paris: France.


Giroux, N. & Marroquin, L. (2005). L’approche narrative des organisations. Revue Française de Gestion, 6(159), 15–42. doi: 10.3166/rfg.159.15-44


Heron, J. & Reason, P. (2001). The practice of co-operative inquiry: Research with rather than on people. In P. Reason & H. Bradbury (Eds.), Handbook of action research: Participative inquiry and practice (pp. 179–188). London: Sage. doi: 10.4135/9781473921290.n25


Jarzabkowski, P., Bednarek, R. & Cabantous, L. (2015). Conducting global team-based ethnography: Methodological challenges and practical methods. Human Relations, 68(1), 3–33. doi: 10.1177/0018726714535449


Johnson, G., Melin, L. & Whittington, R. (2003). Micro strategy and strategizing: Towards an activity-based view. Journal of Management Studies, 40(1), 3–22. doi: 10.1111/1467-6486.t01-2-00002


Journé, B. (2005). Etudier le management de l’imprévu: Méthode dynamique d’observation in situ. Finance Contrôle Stratégie, 8(4), 63–91.


Journé, B. (2012). Collecter les données par l’observation. In M. L. Gavard-Perret, D. Gotteland, C. Haon & A. Jolibert (Eds.), Méthodologie de la recherche en sciences de gestion, Réussir son mémoire ou sa thèse (pp. 165–206), (2nd ed.). Paris: Pearson-Education.


Journé, B., Bardon, T., Garreau, L., Roulet, T. & Royer, I. (2017). L’observation en théorie des organisations et management stratégique. Atelier méthodologique de l’AIMS, Université de Nantes et Audencia Business School, Nantes: France.


Journé, B. & Raulet-Croset, N. (2008). Le concept de situation: Contribution à l’analyse de l’activité managériale en contextes d’ambiguïté et d’incertitude. M@n@gement, 1(11), 27–55. doi: 10.3917/mana.111.0027


Journé, B. & Raulet-Croset, N. (2012). La décision comme activité managériale située. Une approche pragmatiste. Revue Française de Gestion, 6(225), 109–128.


Küpers, W., Mantere, S. & Statler, M. (2013). Strategy as storytelling: A phenomenological collaboration. Journal of Management Inquiry, 22(1), 83–100. doi: 10.1177/1056492612439089


Langley, A. & Klag, M. (2019). Being where? Navigating the involvement paradox in qualitative research accounts. Organizational Research Methods, 22(2), 515–538. doi: 10.1177/1094428117741967


La Ville (de), V. I. & Mounoud, E. (2004). Au-delà du discours: les “arts de faire” dans la fabrication de la stratégie. Proposition d’un cadre conceptuel. XX AIMS colloquium XIIIème Congrès de l’AIMS, 1-4 June, Le Havre: France.


Leonard-Barton, D. (1990). A dual methodology for case studies: Synergistic use of a longitudinal single site with replicated multiple sites. Organization Science, 1(3), 248–266. doi: 10.1287/orsc.1.3.248


Lorino, P. (2005). Contrôle de gestion et mise en intrigue de l’action collective. Revue Française de Gestion, 6(159), 189–211. doi: 10.3166/rfg.159.189-212


Lorino, P. (2018). Pragmatism and organization studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Lorino, P. & Nefussi, J. (2007). Tertiarisation des filières et reconstruction du sens à travers des récits collectifs. Revue Française de Gestion, 1(170), 75–92. doi: 10.3166/rfg.170.75-92


Lorino, P., Tricard, B. & Clot, Y. (2011). Research methods for non-representational approaches to organizational complexity: The dialogical mediated inquiry. Organization Studies, 32(6), 769–801. doi: 10.1177/0170840611410807


Mead, G. H. (1938). The philosophy of the act. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.


Mercier, G. & Deslandes, G. (2017). There are no codes, only interpretations. Practical wisdom and hermeneutics in monastic organizations. Journal of Business Ethics, 145(4), 781–794. doi: 10.1007/s10551-016-3055-4


Mintzberg, H. (1970). Structured observation as a method to study managerial work. Journal of Management Studies, 7(1), 87–104. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6486.1970.tb00484.x


Musca Neukirch, G., Rouleau, L., Mellet, C., Sitri, F. et al. (2018). From boat to bags: The role of material chronotopes in adaptative sensemaking. M@n@gement, 21(2), 705–737. doi: 10.3917/mana.212.0705


Orvain, J. (2014). Le qui-vive organisationnel: Une forme de structuration du lien attention-action. M@n@gement, 17(5), 346–370. doi: 10.3917/mana.175.0346


Ott, J. S. (1989). The organizational culture perspective. BurrRidge, IL: Irwin.


Peirce, C. S. (1903/1998). The essential Pierce. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.


Peretz, H. (2007). Les méthodes en sociologie. L’observation. Paris: La Découverte.


Pezé, S. (2012). La construction identitaire en situation: Le cas de managers à l’épreuve de la détresse de leurs collaborateurs. Thèse de doctorat, Université Paris Dauphine.


Prasad, A. (2002). The contest over meaning: Hermeneutics as an interpretive methodology for understanding texts. Organizational Research Methods, 5, 12–33. doi: 10.1177/1094428102051003


Ricœur, P. (1984). Time and narrative. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press (originally published as Temps et récit. Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1983).


Ripamonti, S., Galuppo, L., Gorli, M., Scaratti, G. et al. (2016). Pushing action research toward reflexive practice. Journal of Management Inquiry, 25(1), 55–68. doi: 10.1177/1056492615584972


Robinson, S. & Kerr, R. (2015). Reflexive conversations: Constructing hermeneutic designs for qualitative management research. British Journal of Management, 26(4), 777–790. doi: 10.1111/1467-8551.12118


Rosile, G. A., Boje, D. M., Carlon, D. M., Downs, A. et al. (2013). Storytelling diamond: An antenarrative integration of the six facets of storytelling in organization research design. Organizational Research Methods, 16(4), 557–580. doi: 10.1177/1094428113482490


Roulet, T. J., Gill, M., Stenger, S. & Gill, D. J. (2017). Reconsidering the value of covert research: The role of ambiguous consent in participant observation. Organizational Research Method, 20(3), 487–517. doi: 10.1177/1094428117698745


Silverman, D. (2006). Interpreting qualitative data: Methods for analysing talk, text and interaction (3rd ed.). London: Sage.


Snowden, D. (2002). Complex acts of knowing: Paradox and descriptive self-awareness. Journal of Knowledge Management, 6(2), 100–11. doi: 10.1108/13673270210424639


Théron, C. & Pezé, S. (2014). Le manager enquêteur: Apports d’une perspective attentionnelle aux situations de gestion. XXIIIème Congrès de l’AIMS, 26–28 mai, Rennes: France.


Van Maanen, J. (1983). The fact of fiction in organizational ethnography. In J. Van Maanen (Ed.), Qualitative methodology (pp. 37–55). London: Sage.


Weick, K. E. (1987). Organizational culture as a source of high reliability. California Management Review, 29(2), 112–128. doi: 10.2307/41165243


Weick, K. E. (1993). The collapse of sensemaking in organizations: The Mann Gulch disaster. Administrative Science Quarterly, 38, 628–652. doi: 10.2307/2393339


Weick, K. E. (1998). Enacted sensemaking in crisis situations. The Journal of Management Studies, 25(4), 305–318. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6486.1988.tb00039.x

Footnote


1 Tagout concerns the management of equipment being put offline or online. It defines the approved methods for organizing work permits, that is, special instructions to protect the personnel doing the work. If the equipment cannot be put offline, a ‘special’ work permit is required with very strict formal instructions for the operators concerned.

Published
2020-09-30
How to Cite
Arnoud, J., & Peton, H. (2020). Observing to Coproduce a Collective Narrative: Emplotment of Multiple Parallel Stories. M@n@gement, 23(3), 66-78. https://doi.org/10.37725/mgmt.v23i3.5352
Section
Original Research Articles