Frontier Issues in Narrative Research

Seminar on organizational narrative at IBC, with Visiting Professor David Boje and Professor Yiannis Gabriel

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 13:15 to 14:45
David Boje

Inaugural lecture by

Velux Visiting Professor David Boje

                                                                  followed by debate with

Professor Yiannis Gabriel


Frontier Issues in Narrative Research

Yiannis Gabriel

The Department of International Business Communication is celebrating the arrival of Velux Visiting Professor David Boje by hosting a seminar with David Boje and Professor Yiannis Gabriel - thus gathering two seminal scholars in the field of organizational narrative research. David Boje will open the seminar by presenting his recent work, and then he and Yiannis Gabriel will engage in discussion, first with each other and then with the audience.

Abstract of David Boje’s talk: Narrative and antenarrative are key concepts in Boje’s research on storytelling in organizations (Boje, 1991, 1995, 2001, 2008). As Boje claims: “In organizations, storytelling is the preferred sensemaking currency of human relationships among internal and external stakeholders” (Boje, 1991, p. 106) and the storytelling organization is a “collective storytelling system in which the performance of stories is a key part of members’ sensemaking and a means to allow them to supplement individual memories with institutional memory” (Boje, 1991, p. 106). Boje used the terms ‘story’ and ‘storytelling’ to refer to the complex, fragmented and nonlinear sensemaking performances occurring in organizations. As he claimed in his 2001 book: “This fragmented, nonlinear, incoherent, collective, unplotted and improper storytelling, is what I mean by the term antenarrative” (Boje, 2001, p.1).

Antenarrative is thus a storytelling performance or a set of performances that do not hold the organization and the coherence of a narrative. Boje noticed how ante refers not only to the idea of anticipation (following the Latin ante as ‘before’) but also to the usage of ante as a stake, with the idea of a bet on the future course of events. Boje has attributed to antenarratives the nature of bets: antenarratives are never conclusive, but rather fragmented and loosely constructed. In this seminar he will discuss the antenarrative conditions out of which narrative emerges. Since the 2001 book on Narrative Methods for Organizational and Communication Research antenarrative is defined as the before and the bets (the antes) to narrative. In the last two years he has worked on three more facets of antenarrative praxis: beneath, between, and becoming and this will be the focus of the lecture.


13.15 - 13.30 Welcome: Head of Department, Alex Klinge, and Assistant Professor, Anna Linda Musacchio Adorisio
13.30 – 14.00 Lecture by David Boje
14.00 – 14.20 Response by Yiannis Gabriel and short return by David Boje
14.20 – 14.45 General discussion

The seminar will be followed by a reception.

Further information about the event: Anna Linda Musacchio Adorisio,

All are welcome; if you wish to attend please send an email to Merete Borch, no later than 18 May. The event is in English; participation is free.

David M. Boje is Wells Fargo Professor, Distinguished University Professor, and Bill Daniels Ethics Fellow in the Management Department at New Mexico State University, USA. David is internationally recognized for his work in the areas of narrative, storytelling, postmodern theory & critical ethics of answerability. His speciality is storytelling using qualitative methods. He has published some 20 books and over 120 articles in journals, including the top-tier journals such as Management Science, Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal and Academy of Management Review. His most widely read books include Storytelling Organizations (2009) and Narrative Methods for Organizational and Communication Research (2001).

Yiannis Gabriel is Professor of Organizational Theory at the School of Management at Bath University. Yiannis is known for his work in leadership, management learning, organizational storytelling and narratives, psychoanalytic studies of work, and the culture and politics of contemporary consumption. Yiannis is co-founder of the Organizational Storytelling Seminar series, now in its fifteenth year (see He is the author of nine books and numerous articles. He was editor of Management Learning, associate editor of Human Relations and is currently Senior Editor of Organization Studies.

The page was last edited by: Department of International Business Communication // 02/15/2017