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How Does Storytelling Support Knowledge Transfer?

15/11/2011

There has been a resurgence in storytelling as an informal method of knowledge transfer within organisations:

“There are many different ways in which we convey experiences of, and learn about, work life. Telling stories is one of them. Exchanging gossip, jokes and anecdotes is often central to the way we make sense of our experiences. The process goes on incessantly in workplace corridors, offices and coffee rooms, and continues in accounts of ‘what happened at work today’. In short, we can regard stories as expressions of how people ‘naturally’ code their feelings, experiences and cultural expectations. Stories are a rich mixture of the storyteller’s needs and wishes, as well as his or her reconstructions for a particular audience. The truth, or truths, of each story lie not in its accuracy but in its meanings, since stories are reproductions of lived realities rather than objective descriptions of ‘facts’.” (Fineman and Gabriel, 1996)

For organisations, storytelling is now seen as one of the key ways in which successful knowledge transfer can be achieved and organisational memory maintained.

References:

Fineman, S. and Gabriel, Y. (1996) Experiencing Organisations, London, Sage.

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From → KT Theory

One Comment
  1. The more presenting I do the more I see the value in good old-fashioned story telling. We’ve lost this somewhere and now frequently hide behind Powerpoint. Peter Guber explains the importance in his book “Tell to Win”.

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