Title: Narratives and Organizational Dynamics: Exploring Blind Spots and Organizational Inertia
Authors: Daniel Geiger and Elena Antonacopoulou
Abstract: This article aims to demonstrate how narratives have the potential to bring bout organizational inertia by creating self-reinforcing mechanisms and blind spots. Drawing on extensive interview data from a U.K. bio-manufacturing company, the empirical analysis shows how such narratives emerge by constructing a web of related, self-reinforcing narratives reflecting a consistent theme. The analysis demonstrates how the dominant (success) narrative remains vivid despite the existence of deviating narratives and severe crisis. In particular, the empirical findings illustrate how narratives construct a self-sustaining frame of reference, preventing the organization from questioning the principles underlying its past success. The discussion explains how narratives create self-reinforcing mechanisms and blind spots. It contributes to our understanding of the role of narratives in organizational change efforts and illustrates the way such self-reinforcing blind spots become a potential source of organizational inertia and path-dependence.