Stories of Achievements - Narrative Features of Organizational Performance

Detta är en avhandling från Lund University Press, P.O. Box 141, S-221 00 Lund, Sweden

Sammanfattning: Stories of achievements is a study concerning uses of the notion of organizational performance. It shows the variety of meanings given the notion in dictionaries, management literature, sports, and performance indicators; it also explores how such meanings are constructed and how they are attached to this notion in new contexts, such as in the activity reports of public libraries. Examining uses of the performance notion in these various contexts reveals its intricate relationships to such notions as competition, comparison, commensurability, hierarchy and justice, as well as efficacy, managerialism, and measurement. A pattern seems inherent in these relationships, the notion of performance being founded on a tension between the image of a process and that of a result. This can be seen in performing arts, for example, where the term denotes either a spectacle or its outcome; in management literature, where performance refers sometimes to an action/activity and sometimes to a result; and again in sports, where connoisseurs and score-focused spectators differ radically in their approach to the game. Investigating the uses of the notion of performance in various contexts also suggests that performance is a matter of telling, recounting, and communicating an organization's acions or the results of these. The major claim of the study is that the performance of an organization is neither the organization's activity nor its results, but rather is a story or a series of stories about these. A performance is a narrative production: it is a process involving the textualization of an organization. Individual organizational events acquire meaning through narration and the organization begins to be made sense of in this way, its members being provided both a language and an identity. Performances are stories of achievements. The present study identifies, describes and discusses the narrative features of such stories.

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