Narrating the Organization: Dramas of Institutional Identity

Investigating the intricacy of the organization, this work argues that it is necessary to gather local information about organizational life and subject it to abstract and metaphorical interpretation. Using a narrative approach, the author employs literary devices to uncover the workings of organizations. She applys cultural metaphors to public administration in Sweden to demonstrate, for example, how the dynamics of a screenplay can illuminate the budget disputes of an organization. She shows how the interpretive description of organizational worlds works as a distinct genre of social analysis, and her study discloses the paradoxical nature of organizational life: we follow routine in order to change, and decentralize in order to control.