Narrative Fiction and Organization Studies

Narrative Fiction and Organization Studies

Continuing on a similar theme as last week, we will for the next 08:23 discuss a paper by Carl Rhodes and Andrew D. Brown. The topic, “Writing Responsibly”. The full title of the paper is “Writing Responsibly: Narrative Fiction and Organization Studies” and it is published 2005 in Organization. The paper can download here.

Abstract

In this paper, we reflect on the use of fictional source material and fictional formats in organization studies in order to explore issues of responsibility in the writing of research. We start by examining how research using fictional narrative methods has worked to radically destabilize distinctions between what is real and what is fictional. In relation to this, we ask the question: if a research account can be regarded as fiction, what are the implications of this insight for the responsibilities of authors? Opposing the view that using fiction necessarily leads to an ‘anything goes’ relativism, we argue that a recognition of the fictionality of research texts implies a heightened sense of researcher-author responsibility. We see our main contribution as extending existing discussions of reflexivity in research into a consideration of issues of ethics and responsibility as it relates to the textuality of research writing. To do so, we draw on Derrida’s theorization of responsibility and undecidability as a way of problematizing and discussing the ethics of research in relation to its textuality. We argue that the explicit borrowing from fictional genres evinces the essentially ‘written’ and fictional status of research papers, and highlights the ethical dimensions associated with decisions related to representational strategies and authorial subjectivity.

Key words. narrative; fiction; reflexivity; responsibility; writing