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Neither here nor there: liminal stories: how does storytelling help us make sense of liminal environments in organisational life?

Stories have long been recognised as a medium for conveying personal experience, expertise and values. They operate as a sense making tool to represent complex data and relationships and transmit context rich knowledge.  By deconstructing a ‘real’ story from organisational life, I explore how stories act as volatile and ‘plastic’ knowledge assets.  I then introduce the concept of liminality to investigate the connection between liminal spaces and storytelling and the implications of this for knowledge organisation (and our own experiences as knowledge professionals).

As my research is at an early stage, my approach is based on a review of existing literature and some very small scale ‘prototype’ analysis using photo elicitation.  This shows promising evidence that liminal spaces act as loci for storytelling.  Much more work needs to be done to confirm this connection and explore how liminal spaces affect the characteristics, performance and impact of organisational storytelling.  However, if a positive connection is shown, it may prompt us to re-evaluate such areas as more interesting, productive and valuable.  Such perceptual recasting might then suggest a need to ‘protect’ and promote these overlooked, marginal and occasionally secret spaces.

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