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After managerialism
Volume: 7, Issue 3-4
This paper is occasioned by the Storymaker project, an initiative begun in 1998 to help professionals in organizations to develop their practice by recording and exchanging narratives of work experience. The paper attempts to situate the practice and theory of the Storymaker project within a wider conversation about the future of human organization and communication, centering on the relationship between narrative and complexity. It does so by comparing two approaches to developing professional capability within organizations. The first is taken from the mainstream of management thinking. By example, the paper argues that managerialism is intrinsically inimical to complexity, and has the opposite result from the one that it intends for professionals because its methods diminish human capability and potential. The second example, taken from Storymaker project experience, shows that, narrative methods expose and emphasize complexity. Storymaker, reframing the narrative approaches of nursing practice, helps professionals to create spoken-word resources that bring recorded narrative experience into the living present as a rich medium of contrasting voices. Such emergent narrative practices open up new possibilities for communication between professionals in organizations in ways that foster emergence and creativity and can also liberate the human spirit.