This site has a wealth of links to topics on postmodernism and organization theory, numerous articles, a "Gameboard," and resources for teaching postmodern perspectives in business management courses. This review will provide an overall review of David Boje's Postmodern Website, but will also focus specifically on "The Storytelling Organization Game." Boje is a well known academician/theorist who has been a pioneer in the field of organizational studies, making the postmodern perspective a legitimate form of organizational analysis. His website is a labor of love, is constantly being updated and expanded, and represents a scholarly but highly engaging approach to teaching and learning on the web. In many ways, this site is exemplary of a site that contains high quality content, high potential as a teaching and learning tool, and is engaging to use.
The website is organized into a simple and fancy menu, composed of different folders. Themes covered include: Nike Studies, Postmodernism, Transorganizational Development, Green Accounting, Storytelling, Festivalism, Leadership, Small Business, Enron, and Stuff.
Type of Material:
Interactive exercise, resource.
This material could be used to build a lecture or it could be used as a homework/reading assignment. It could also be used as a student project.
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Identify Major Learning Goals:
The overall goal of the storytelling portion of this website is to introduce users to the power that organizational stories can have over the culture, activities, behaviors, and goals of the organization. The major learning goals for The Storytelling Organization Game are to: 1) become familiar with the significance of how stories are an essential part of organizational life 2) understand the theory of storytelling from a deconstructionist/postmodern perspective 3) comprehend how stories and story-telling inform much of leadership theory,
strategy and organizational culture studies 4) apply story-telling as a method 5) conduct a narrative diagnosis
Target Student Population:
Target students could include undergraduate and graduate students in business, sociology, political science, history, liberal and critical studies.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Basic knowledge of organizations or organizational theory. In addition, an introduction to postmodernism, or postmodern organization theory would be appropriate.
Boje brings to this site a wealth of scholarship drawing from such diverse areas as postmodernist critique, narrative methods, critical theory, and a historical analysis of management as a field. The content is grounded in the literature of postmodern organizational theory, a field that Boje himself has helped to create. What is most original and creative about this site is that the Storytelling Organization is designed as a Board Game, with key modules built into different pieces of the board.
The content is wide-ranging, but focuses on how story-telling is part of the way organizations construct their reality and power structures. The Board Game has such modules dealing with different perspectives, such as the "Managerialist Stories," "Leader Stories," "Digital Story-Telling," etc.
A very informative section is found under the Postmodernism link. In this section, the modules has an interesting treatment that responds to the question, "What is Postmodernism?"
Boje's site will force many management students to think beyond their traditional boundaries and will challenge some traditional management tenets (such as Burns and Stalker), and the usual Intro to Management materials.
I really do not have any major concerns with regards to the content quality, other than the fact that students using this site would have to some prior knowledge and context on postmodernism in order to engage with the material.While the module is comprehensive, there never seems to be a point at which the author concisely states what he is trying to achieve with the work being presented. The user feels somewhat unsure as to what main points should be gleaned from the material.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The site is so creatively laid out in a fun game board, that it would be very effective as a teaching tool. Especially for those who want to present perspectives other than the standard "functionalist" model of management and organizations, this site is a gold-mine. Boje also has student assignments associated with the game, although they are a bit hard to find and extract.
The site demonstrates the theory of storytelling from a postmodern perspective, and also shows how narrative analysis--a methodology--could be applied to organizations. Assignments could be built around this side in a multitude of ways.
It would be nice to see Boje develop a users guide (I think he has some version that attempts to do this), but one that also specifies some likely learning outcomes, or perhaps a story or narrative on how his own students have used this site!This module also assumes a certain level of knowledge about post modernism that many management students would likely not possess. The learning objectives were unclear resulting in a lack of focus within the site. However, despite these limitations, the site offers an often marginalized perspective in organizational theory, and addresses issues from a critical framework.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Actually the site is very visually appealing, always is being updated, and easy to use.
The only concern is one can easily get lost in this website, but Boje has offered different options in terms of menus to help navigate the site. It appears that the Game Board is not a linear game, but one that can be played in a non-linear manner.
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