Emotions and Narrative Interview Techniques in Organization Research
Institut für Soziologie Universität Leipzig Berlin, Germany
In general, narrative research has been firmly established as a method for qualitative research (national variations notwithstanding). Qualitative methods and narrative interviews in particular have also entered the field of organization research as indicated by an increasing number of recent publications. Within the field of organization theory, narrative methods are particularly compatible with Weick´s sense-making approach. Narrative methods have mostly been applied to issues related to a sociology of knowledge and the significance of emotions within narrative interview texts remains underexplored to date. Likewise, Weick´s theory, while not entirely mute about emotions, has only paid marginal attention to them.
The presentation will briefly introduce Weick´s theory and the method of narrative interviews in order to outline convergences. Then it will focus on exploring ways in which emotions are communicated through narrative texts. It will be shown that a number of analytical concepts of narrative research can be very helpful in tapping into the emotional side of human experience. For this, I will also refer to selected concepts of linguistic research on emotionality of texts. This will help develop a notion of the narrativity of emotions, which is the idea that emotions and meanings are constituted simultaneously in narrative texts and are embedded in the ongoing stream of the narrative.