Transfer Knowledge Using Stories: A Malaysian University Case Study

Transfer Knowledge Using Stories: A Malaysian University Case Study

Khairul Shafee B Kalid (Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-783-8.ch812

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Introduction

Storytelling is an ancient and traditional way of passing on complex and multidimensional information and ideas through narratives (Sole, 2002). It exists in many domains and in many forms. From an artistic point of view, storytelling is the art of using language, vocalization, and/or physical movement and gesture to reveal the elements and images of a story to a specific, live audience. A central, unique aspect of storytelling is its reliance on the audience to develop specific visual imagery and detail to complete and co-create the story (National Storytelling Association, 1997).

Organizational story is defined as a detailed narrative of past management actions, employee interactions, or other intra- or extra-organizational events (Swap, et al 2001). Organization storytelling is used for many purposes such as promoting values, communicating change and stimulating product innovation (Groff & Jones, 2003). Linde (2001) conducted a case study on the use of narratives in an insurance company. The insurance company used the stories to convey its organization values and identity, inducting new staffs and inspiring existing staffs. This is done by telling the stories of the company’s founder, staffs telling stories about their early days, career and careers of exemplary staffs. Katzeff & Ware (2006) conducted a case study on the usage of storytelling to capture experience in a temporary but recurring organization. The organization in the study is a festival organization whereby it is established for a temporary period of time and got dissolved after the festival ends. In this type of organization, the employees are also temporary but recurring. The authors presented a storytelling application to capture the employees’ personal accounts of their work in the organization in story form. The stories are usually personal stories derived from personal experiences.

From knowledge management (KM) perspective, storytelling is seen as a traditional way of passing on complex multi-dimensional information and ideas through narrative (Sole, 2002). Gabriel (2000) regards storytelling as ‘an art of weaving, of constructing, the product of intimate knowledge’. Groce (2004) defines storytelling as orally communicating ideas, beliefs, personal stories and life-lessons which insinuate the element of tacit knowledge in stories. Stories can come in different forms and are labeled as cases, anecdotes, examples, histories or simple experience (Sole, 2002).

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