Shrek, Saunders and the Onion Myth: Using Myths, Metaphors and Storytelling
Editors: Demartini, P. and Marchiori, M.
Start date: 12 July 2018
Journal: ECRM 2018 - Proceedings of the 17th European Conference on Research Methodology for Business and Management Studies
Place of Publication: Rome
Do we know our (research) onions? Onions have layers, as researchers we need to peel the research onion to its core, to uncover layers of meaning which enable us to understand the phenomenon we are seeking to understand. The metaphor of the onion, immortalized by Shrek (amongst others) and in our research world by Saunders, is well known. This paper takes the layers of the onion as a metaphor for collecting and making meaning from visual/ verbal metaphors, and stories. Research methods, based on the collection of stories, can sometimes be perceived as tangential or superfluous (Kendall J and Kendall K, 2012). Additionally, research using story telling often falls into three specific domains 1) is the story an accurate portrayal of all the events? 2) is the story an accurate account of what was experienced by the actors? 3) Is the story a driver for change and improvement? This research explores all three domains, adapting Campbells’ (1964) and Youngs’ (2004) typology of myths. Our Sphere Model (Farquharson L, Sinha T, Clarke S, 2018) provides a canvas to capture verbal and visual stories from those experiencing and leading change within Higher Education. The stories are captured through populating the Sphere canvas, through focus groups (camp fires), interviews (testimony) and artefacts such as postcards and graphic maps. We seek to capture the following myth descriptions of describe, explain, validate and direct (Young, 2004) to create a typography of organisational stories. (Adapted from Kendall J and Kendall K, 2012). We will be taking a positive psychology view of this work, to learn from what works as opposed to what hinders (deficit approach). The outcome of the paper shows how we will move this research method forward.