Contesting the dominant narrative: expanding the multistory cultural change approach

Martijn van Ooijen*, Antonie van Nistelrooij, Marcel Veenswijk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to expand the theory on multistory cultural change by showing how a dominant narrative on construction safety dynamically interrelates and is contested on multiple intertextual levels in an organizational field of organizations contributing to the recovery of houses in an earthquake region. Design/methodology/approach: An ethnoventionist research approach was adopted in which interpretation of data to find narratives and designing interventions went hand-in-hand. Findings: We found four distinctive composite narratives besides the dominant narrative to which five actors refer in their accounts, thereby contributing to three types of story patterns. These narratives disclose the taken-for-granted ideas and beliefs that characterize the challenge of changing organizational culture. One intervention, which intended multiple stories to touch the surface, was highlighted as a multistory intervention. Research limitations/implications: Further research could extend the knowledge on other change interventions that contribute to multistory cultural change processes. Originality/value: Adopting an ethnoventionist approach to provide deep insights on an unfolding cultural change process for both scholars and practitioners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-228
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Organizational Change Management
Issue number2
Early online date20 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2020


  • Cultural change
  • Multistory
  • Narrative
  • Story patterns


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