Evolution of strategy narration and leadership work in the digital era
Auvinen, T., Sajasalo, P., Sintonen, T., Pekkala, K., Takala, T., & Luoma-aho, V. (2019). Evolution of strategy narration and leadership work in the digital era. Leadership, 15(2), 205-225. https://doi.org/10.1177/1742715019826426
DisciplineBasic or discovery scholarshipJohtaminenViestinnän johtaminenBasic or discovery scholarshipManagement and LeadershipCorporate Communication
© The Author(s) 2019
This paper examines the evolution of strategy narration, contributing to ongoing discussions in this field. Our empirical data, gathered from a large Finnish co-operative bank, cover three decades. According to our findings, digitalisation has brought about an epoch change in strategy narration, as top management has strongly adopted digital media in their leadership work, which has replaced ‘traditional’ face-to-face strategy meetings and public presentations by gatherings on digital platforms, including webcasting, intranet and Skype. This has brought about a leadership vacuum, and left organisational members long for their superiors to ‘exercise’ some traditional leadership practices, such as caring and presence, both calling for face-to-face interaction. Thus, leadership roles, in terms of human-to-human interaction, seem to still be desired, and digitalisation has not entirely replaced the importance of the presence of an embodied leader. In our data, the leaders did not resort to intentional fabrication of alternative facts in the post-truth sense, but rather fantasising in the sense that strategising always involves fictional narration without a reference to historical facts as it relates to forthcoming events. Due to this, the post-truth framework of alternative facts and intentional truth bending does not entirely fit in describing strategy narration in business context. However, increasingly digital plurivocal narration with several participants is likely to result in multiple organisational ‘truths’. Therefore, dealing with such ambiguity and the exercise of leadership power requires leaders’ awareness of the flux of quickly evolving digital organisational storytelling. ...
PublisherSage Publications Ltd.
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