Organizing collective action amid the ripple effects of change: narratives of crisis, disaster, and opportunity
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© 2016 National Communication Association. This study examines how narrative is used by remote stakeholders to cope with organizational change. Specifically, I focus on the public narratives of community leaders because these narratives often function as a rhetorical resource to attract businesses, receive grants, and retain local residents. Public stories announcing, explaining, and managing the ripple effects of organizational change warrant deeper analysis in order to refine our ability to respond to these effects at a community level. This in-depth case study analysis of one community's efforts to respond to the loss of its largest employer suggests that naming a change event as a crisis, disaster, or opportunity positions actors differently within narratives, creating powerful implications for social action. Specifically, crisis narratives call for punishment of the causal agent and legislation of responsibility; disaster narratives call for assistance to affected communities and legislation of support; and opportunity narratives create an unclear policy mandate and demand transformational leadership to mobilize action.
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