Northwestern University research

My Master’s Capstone project has been approved. It’s about business leaders and storytelling.

Specifically, I’m examining how senior leaders (director level and above) view strategic storytelling when communicating about change.

I am looking to interview change management and/or change communications leaders to get their perspective on using storytelling to driving business results. Is that you? Is that someone you know? Email me at 

Here’s why change management and change communications pros should care about this topic: A growing body of research reveals that storytelling can guide modern change efforts in an increasingly complex and ambiguous business world. Storytelling, as part of a leadership change communications strategy, can spark employee action, strengthen team trust, deepen knowledge sharing and help employees better visualize the future (Denning, 2006). Stories provide a way for leaders to help employees make sense of change by bridging the future state laid out in a communications change plan with current-state reality, (Reissner, 2011). Senior leaders who use storytelling techniques, methodically and intentionally, can shape the future of an organization, especially in rallying others around a shared purpose (Boal & Schultz, 2007).

Yet, for all indications that strategic leadership storytelling should be universally embraced, questions remain if that is happening during change efforts. Researchers continue to study why some senior leaders avoid storytelling as part of a deliberate change communications strategy.

This gap forms the basis of my project.

colorful books

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Boal, K., & Schultz, P. (2007). Storytelling, time, and evolution: The role of strategic leadership in complex adaptive systems. The Leadership Quarterly, 18(4), 411-428. 
Denning, S. (2006). Effective storytelling: Strategic business narrative techniques. Strategy and Leadership, 34(1), 42-48.
Reissner, S. (2011). Patterns of stories of organisational change. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 24(5), 593-609.

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