Setting the scene

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The interviews conducted for this piece of research have revealed a number of issues relating to the use of digital storytelling as a tool for organisational communication. The respondents found there to be many benefits regarding its use but there are many underlying tensions that arise from an approach that thrives on a personal and emotional openness within a corporate context.

To streamline this discussion I want to start with a proposition and see whether it stands up to scrutiny. The proposition is that Netskills is using digital storytelling to create an organisational autobiography in a way that Bruner (2004) may understand it. Bruner described autobiographical narratives relating to an individual’s life stories as a way of making sense of experiences but in a way that then shaped a person’s sense of identity.

I want to argue that to some extent Netskills is embarking on a process of sensemaking about its own activities that is intended for broadcast to a wider audience but that may also have an impact on the organisation’s members’ sense of a corporate identity and their own identities within that.

I’ll start by discussing the sensemaking role of digital storytelling activities at Netskills along with what motivations are driving its use. Next I’ll go through how the interviewees talked about issues around identities. This will include a look at the identity-forming within the digital storytelling itself and also how the process of creating the stories is integral to how the participants view their own identities within the organisation and how they perceive the organisation itself. Thirdly, I’ll reflect on the various tensions that have arisen or are anticipated by the participants as a result of taking an active approach to storytelling.

Next page – The sensemaking role of digital storytelling