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Tensions, ambivalence, and contradiction: a small story analysis of discursive identity construction in the South African workplace
Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
2015 (English)In: Text & talk, ISSN 1860-7330, Vol. 35, no 1, 25-47 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recently there has been an increased focus on narratives produced within or about the workplace. A number of different analytical approaches to narrative exist and there has been quite a vigorous debate between researchers interested in life stories (or so-called big stories) and those researchers proposing an increased focus on small stories. This paper will use small story analysis (SSA) to examine workplace identity in discourses on organizational processes in one workplace in South Africa. The data for this study were collected by conducting interviews and focus group discussions with 19 members of a large South African retail company. We find that participants often introduce small stories which offer discourses that contradict or contest “official” company discourses (or the so-called sanctioned grand narrative stories). We argue that small stories can be a valuable resource to investigate organizational discourses, as participants often introduce questions of identity which do not necessarily fit the dominant organizational discourses through small stories. Small story analysis seems to be an ideal tool to investigate contradictions and inconsistencies which occur in all discourses but are typical of contexts of diversity and transformation such as the South African workplace.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 35, no 1, 25-47 p.
Keyword [en]
small story analysis, big stories/greater narratives, organizational discourse, identity construction, South Africa, transformation
National Category
Languages and Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-127194DOI: 10.1515/text-2014-0030OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-127194DiVA: diva2:907299
Available from: 2016-02-26 Created: 2016-02-26 Last updated: 2017-03-28Bibliographically approved

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