Strategy as a story – How Finnish listed companies use narratives in external strategy communication

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dc.contributor Aalto University en
dc.contributor Aalto-yliopisto fi
dc.contributor.advisor Moisander, Johanna
dc.contributor.advisor Leinonen, Anna
dc.contributor.author Heiniö, Onni
dc.date.accessioned 2019-07-21T16:03:37Z
dc.date.available 2019-07-21T16:03:37Z
dc.date.issued 2019
dc.identifier.uri https://aaltodoc.aalto.fi/handle/123456789/39326
dc.description.abstract The purpose of this study is to examine how Finnish listed companies use narratives and storytelling in their external strategy communication. Storytelling is accepted as a powerful tool of communication yet its use in strategy communication has not been extensively studied. The study is therefore exploratory, its aim is to establish an understanding of the subject and find topics for further research. Furthermore, the study aims to fill the gap in strategy-as-narrative research on how narratives are constructed in strategy texts. The research objective is explored through three research questions: (1) What patterns of meaning and potential narrative genres can be found in strategy communication of Finnish listed companies in their official websites? (2) How are features of strategic narratives used in this strategy communication? (3) How do three companies representing different narrative genres construct strategic narratives in their annual reports? The theoretical framework of the study is based on strategy, business communication and narrative literature. In addition, a framework of strategic narrative features is specifically constructed for this study in order to facilitate analysis of the data. The empirical data comprises of websites of 33 large cap companies listed in Helsinki Stock Exchange and 3 annual reports published by the same companies. Specifically, the sections labelled as strategy were examined both in websites and annual reports. The qualitative method of narrative analysis was used in the study, narratives were considered as objects of study and the method focused on their rhetorical aspects. The results suggest that despite the proven benefits of storytelling in business communication, Finnish listed companies do not seem to deliberately construct narratives and stories in their external strategy communication. Especially websites include little storytelling. The strategy texts often descriptively answer the questions of why the company exists, how the company plans to achieve its goals and what are the products and services it provides. The findings suggest that when a strategic narrative is included in the text, it constitutes from three steps of setting the scene, the journey and the desired ending. Each of these steps is constructed through the narrative features. Based on desired endings, three potential narrative genres were identified: (1) The leader (2) The builder of a better world and (3) The customer’s first choice. The lack of deliberate storytelling in external strategy communication, framework of narrative composition of strategy texts and the suggested narrative genres are the main findings of this study. en
dc.format.extent 87
dc.language.iso en en
dc.title Strategy as a story – How Finnish listed companies use narratives in external strategy communication en
dc.type G2 Pro gradu, diplomityö fi
dc.contributor.school Kauppakorkeakoulu fi
dc.contributor.school School of Business en
dc.contributor.department Johtamisen laitos fi
dc.subject.keyword business communication en
dc.subject.keyword strategy communication en
dc.subject.keyword strategy-as-narrative en
dc.subject.keyword storytelling en
dc.identifier.urn URN:NBN:fi:aalto-201907214388
dc.type.ontasot Master's thesis en
dc.type.ontasot Maisterin opinnäyte fi
dc.programme Corporate Communication en
dc.location P1 I fi
local.aalto.electroniconly yes
local.aalto.openaccess no


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