• Heroes and Helpers, Victims and Villains: A syntagmatic analysis of manager stories

      Rostron, Alison I.; University of Chester (British Academy of Management, 2015-09-08)
      This paper builds on the growing body of work using narrative as a means of both conceptualising and researching identity. Drawing on the work of Propp, it presents a method of syntagmatic analysis which attends to the narrative plots underpinning stories, and the narrative roles adopted by the narrator and roles ascribed to others. The paper presents research into manager workplace identities at a UK Social Landlord. It demonstrates how a syntagmatic analysis of manager stories reveals rich insights into the workplace identities of managers, and the identity work they undertake in order to construct and sustain such identities. It further reveals how managers personally position themselves in relation to the range of possible organisational functions of a manager, and in relation to the organisation and other organisational actors. By attending to individual stories, such analysis also draws attention to the plurality of manager experience.
    • ‘The long, brown path before me’: Story elicitation and analysis in identity studies

      Rostron, Alison I.; University of Chester (Academic Conferences and Publishing International (ACPI), 2014-11-01)
      This paper makes a renewed case for the value of the interview as a method for investigating the workplace identities of organisational actors. In particular it addresses interpretivist criticism that interviews merely tell us how the actor would like to be seen, rather than how they behave in practice. Adopting a narrative approach, the method combines story elicitation with analysis based on Levi-Strauss' concept of mythical thought, in which stories are analysed to not only reveal individual self-narratives but an underpinning social landscape constructed of selected oppositions within which the individual positions themselves. The paper illustrates the method and its potential by presenting the detailed analysis of one team leader's elicited story. It demonstrates how the method allows not only insight into the team leader's self-identity but insight into ongoing processes of identity work, by revealing the social landscapes that they construct, the discursive resources they select, reject, challenge and struggle with, and how they position themselves in relation to those resources through narrative. The revealed social landscape and narrative positioning also generates new insight into the particular organisational position of the team leader and the tensions inherent in their position between staff and the organisation.