Stories naturally occur in a social (and therefore an organizational context) that reflect some of the worries and cynicism in a group.
It is unnatural and impossible to prevent people from retelling such stories.
Negative stories are disruptive to morale and can prevent needed change.
In some cases, it is possible to add an outer layer of context to a natural story which changes the meaning from negative to positive.
An organization wants to promote more innovation. However, negative stories are circulated to the effect that anyone who tries to innovate gets shot down. E.g., "John Jones tried a new idea, and his manager Steve Stevenson reamed him out in front of everybody." Here, additional context might be, "Yes, but when the VP found out about that, he transferred Stevenson out of R&D into accounting where such strict rule-following is to be rewarded and then promoted Jones." Needless to say, management actions have to be consistent with the story.
Back to Pattern Language
Back to Welcome Page