Knowledge cybernetics and storytelling

[German title: Wissenskybernetik und Geschichtenerzählen]

Title: The dynamics of narrative and antenarrative and their relation to story 
Author(s): Maurice Yolles 
Journal: Journal of Organizational Change Management 
ISSN: 0953-4814 
Year: 2007 Volume: 20 Issue: 1 Page: 74 – 94 
DOI: 10.1108/09534810710715298 
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited 

Abstract: Purpose – The nature of narrative is important, and with the development of awareness of knowledge processes, it becoming more important. In particular its notions can be enhanced by examining it in terms of antenarrative. Ultimately the paper aims to explore the relationship between narrative and antenarrative.
Design/methodology/approach – The objectives of the paper are achieved by seating the notions of narrative and antenarrative into the models of knowledge cybernetics (in particular social viable systems – SVS and social cybernetics) to enable an exploration of the consequences of their interaction. If narrative and antenarrative are seen as together forming an autonomous system, then their relationship may be explored in terms of SVS. This is effectively a social geometry that enables complex conceptual relationships to be explored graphically.
Findings – While normally one might think that narrative and antenarrative are incommensurable, the theory explains how through enantiomer dynamics, patterns of narrative can be related to un-patterned arbitrary antenarratives. Under the right circumstances narrative and antenarrative can form a joint alliance that enables the two forms to merge into a story. This means that a story is told in a way that enables narrative structures to be intermingled with antenarrative thereby forming a thematic story event that has potential to engage more dynamically with the listener.
Research limitations/implications – The paper is fundamentally theoretical, and a useful development would be to apply this to real case scenarios, thereby exploring quantitively the interconnection between narrative and antenarrative, and some of its implications.
Practical implications – It must be realised that there is a tacit knowledge dimension that connects the narrative/antenarrative situation with a story acquirer. The ability of the acquirer to recognise whether a situation has narrative or antenarrative is a function of that acquirer’s own pattern of knowledge, and this embodies subjectivity. This is bound up within the notion of third cybernetics. The interconnectedness of narrative and antenarrative is relevant to actual processes of social communication, and demonstrates a parallel coexistence of modernist and postmodernist paradigms.
Originality/value – The paper applies a new theory, that of knowledge cybernetics, to a difficult conceptual area of study. While this results in the need to understand the conceptual basis of knowledge cybernetics, it does provide a frame of reference that enables relatively simple approaches in knowledge and knowledge processes to be graphically represented, thereby providing the potential for new insights. The value of the paper is that these graphical techniques are illustrated, and they would likely be useful to those who work in the knowledge or knowledge management field. 

Keywords: Communication processes, Cybernetics, Knowledge management, Knowledge processes, Narratives, Storytelling 

Article Type: Conceptual paper 

Article URL:

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