Community Action and Organizational Change: Image, Narrative, Identity
Brenton D. Faber’s spirited account of an academic consultant’s journey through banks, ghost towns, cemeteries, schools, and political campaigns explores the tenuous relationships between cultural narratives and organizational change.
Blending Faber’s firsthand experiences in the study and implementation of change with theoretical discussions of identity, agency, structure, and resistance within contexts of change, this innovative bookis among the first such communications studies to profile a scholar who is also a full participant in the projects. Drawing on theories of Michel Foucault, Anthony Giddens, and Pierre Bourdieu, Faber notes that change takes place in the realm of narrative, in the stories people tell.
Faber argues that an organization’s identity is created through internal stories. When the organization’s internal stories are consistent with its external stories, the organization’s identity is consistent and productive. When internal stories contradict the external stories, however, the organization’s identity becomes discordant. Change is the process of realigning an organization’s discordant narratives.
Faber discusses the case studies of a change management plan he wrote for a city-owned cemetery, a cultural change project he created for a downtown trade school, and a political campaign he assisted that focused on creating social change. He also includes detailed reflections on practical ways academics can become more involved in their communities as agents of progressive social change. Featuring six illustrations, Faber’s unique study demonstrates in both style and substance how stories work as agents of change.