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The "miss," John, as you and I have gone back and forth on, is in your attempt to make the distinction between story and narrative instead of addressing the fact that stories form and get shared differently in networks and in organizations than they do in linear channels and repeatable cycles. This distinction between stories with beginnings/middles/ends (say, Finding Nemo or a customer's journey from awareness to purchase) and Living Stories that are emergent in the present (say, Congress Dithers While the U.S. Burns) quite literally calls for a new physics of story. One that is not solely dependent on the causality/determinacy valuations of discrete channel communication, but, rather, one that can account for uncertainty and the effects of chaos theory (i.e. environmental effect) in networks. The primo work in this area, as I've mentioned, is being done by Dr. David Boje at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. Tamaraland the journal on organizational theory he begin 20 years ago is still going strong, and represents a profound shift in the way organizations can think about story. Boje's concept of "antenarrative" accounts for the difference between stories that have Newtonian (i.e. linear and cyclical) properties and those that have Quantum properties. The distinction between story and narrative is, imho, a fruitless distinction to make, John. These two words are too entangled in terms of meaning, and any insistence on separating that meaning is going to be conflicted, because you cannot separate the definitions faster, or on a more massive scale, than the rest of the world can conflate those definitions. Which is why it doesn't make any sense to me for you, me, or anyone to parse the meaning of the words, when what needs parsing is the actual properties and characteristics of different kinds of stories. Boje and I, ourselves, disagree on the definitions of story and narrative. Or at least, our past writing does. We spend zero time debating it. Instead, we focus on the physics of storytelling. Boje's next book is going to be called Storytelling Organizational Practices: Managing in the Quantum Age and comes out next year. Super dense and academic, it can really only be understood by a layman like myself as metaphor (blacksmithing, music, tribal business practices, improvisation, dance, real estate are a few that people use). I hope you begin picking up on it. Your ability to explain things and Boje's theories can, I feel, bring lots of good juju to management and organizational theory and practices. Thanks for continuing this conversation. It's a good one!
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Jan 27, 2011