Narrative is effective in motivating change based on storytelling’s common roots in all cultures (Dickman, 2003). If you can tell the stories that are shared throughout the corporate culture, you can also change the stories “ thus instigating organizational rebirth (Rhodes, 1996).
Examples abound of the ways organizations use stories to communicate about change. A major British public utility used story as part of a change process to create images of new directions and career options in the minds of workers (Collison and Mackenzie, 1999). In another company, a CEO used story to illustrate his ability to grasp his of employees’ gut-level reaction to industry-changing technology. By demonstrating through storytelling that he felt their pain while also painting a clear picture of what the future story would be like, he enabled his employees to envision and embrace the technology’s potential (Brittain, Swain, and Simpaon, 2005). A restaurant chain that planned to open 200 new stores in a two-year period prepared to address the change challenge presented by rapid growth by turning to storytelling to enculturate new hires (Breuer, 1998).
Stories that show transformation can become metaphors for desired change in the audience (Brown and Humphreys, 2003). That kind of transformation is illustrated in the following examples:
A faculty member tells her colleagues at a university “ plagued with crumbling infrastructure, environmental issues, and stagnant leadership “ a very different story of the situation at her alma mater. She hopes the portrayal of how such problems can be solved will inspire a “Just imagine”¦” response in her audience: