The Uniqueness Paradox in Organizational Stories

Martin, Joanne; Feldman, Martha S.; Hatch, Mary Jo; Sitkin, Sim B.
September 1983
Administrative Science Quarterly;Sep83, Vol. 28 Issue 3, p438
Academic Journal
Organizational cultures, and in particular stories, carry a claim to uniqueness-that an institution is unlike any other. This paper argues that a culture's claim to uniqueness is, paradoxically, expressed through cultural manifestations, such as stories, that are not in fact unique. We present seven types of stories that make a tacit claim to uniqueness. We show that these seven stories occur, in virtually identical form, in a wide variety of organizations. We then suggest why these stories have proliferated while others have not.


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