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The Multiple Uses of Narratives in Constructing Formal Knowledge from Experience

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Résumé

Fieldwork reveals that members of organizations tacitly know a lot about management, strategy-making, organizational practices, organizational commitment, etc. This tacit, embodied knowledge can be considered as ‘unbeknownst' to its beholders: most practitioners are unaware of what they implicitly know simply because they have never had the opportunity to think about it, nor the motivation, time, and/or energy to attempt to recall it – which itself is not an easy task. A management science researcher, aware of this phenomenon, may wonder whether it would be possible to construct formal knowledge from what practitioners know, which would have two further properties: to be considered valid by management scholars and potentially useful for certain practitioners. Such a perspective immediately raises a number of questions, including: how is explicit knowledge to be constructed from practitioners' experience? What forms of knowledge do practitioners consider as relevant to their practice? How can scholars communicate that knowledge with practitioners? What is viewed as valid knowledge in management science? The purpose of this paper is two-fold. First, to discuss a generic framework developed for formal knowledge construction from what practitioners know on some particular management research question. Second, to show the various ways in which narratives can be used in that framework, in particular for communicating with various communities of practitioners the knowledge which has thus been produced. This paper is organized in two parts. The first one provides an overview of the proposed generic framework for the construction of formal knowledge from practitioners' experience. The second one presents the various uses that can be made of narratives. These various uses are illustrated with concrete examples drawn from an ongoing research project. Hence, this paper addresses methodological (and epistemological) issues from both a theoretical and a practical standpoint.
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Dates et versions

hal-00364167 , version 1 (25-02-2009)

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  • HAL Id : hal-00364167 , version 1

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Marie-Noëlle Albert-Herve, Marie-José Avenier. The Multiple Uses of Narratives in Constructing Formal Knowledge from Experience. 2nd Organization Studies Summer Workshop - 2006, Jun 2006, Mykonos, Greece. ⟨hal-00364167⟩
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