Organizational Research Methods: Storytelling in Action

David M. Boje

Book being prepared for Routledge, due March 2018

To cite this document: Boje, David M. (2018) "Organizational Resarch Methods: Storytelling In Action", (March 15), URL = <>


Introduction: Relational Process Ontologies

Organizational systems are are not static. Organization systems are ontological relations, processes, and quite ontological. Organizational systems are not just abstract static conecpt models of parts and whole. Rather organizational systems are always moving, changing, in the reality of spacetimemattering of thier Being-in-the-world.

There are more a dozen relational process ontologies. Each has an important difference in the mode and activity of dialectic. Varied relational process ontolgies combine and assemble in the eight streams of the 4th Wave. The purpose of this book is to develop theseight relational process ontology assemblages (patthways) to develop 4th Wave Grounded Theory methodology for organizational research.

Without 4th Wave, there is no ground and no theory in first three waves of 'Grounded Theory.' The first three waves of grounded theory are not at all ontological in any of the eight streams of relational process ontology. Finding 'ground' is something that is spacetimemattering, not in the inductive fallacy of first three waves, nor the positivistic coding norms what do not do falsification or verification in the ontological. In additin there is an ontological fallacy, of assuming only one ontology, when there are multiple ontologies that form ontologic-assemblages, particular combinations that co-constitute eight streams of 4th Wave Grounded Theory. These are presented inthe paradigm map below:

Eight Steams of Organizational Research Methods that Co-constitute the 4th Wave Grounded Theory

Map of Storytelling In Action  © D. M. Boje 2017

Figure 1: 8 Streams of Relational Process Ontology Assemblages Co-constituting Fourth Wave Grounded Theory organizational research methods


Chapters in the 'Organizational Research Methods: Storytelling in Action' book trace their complicity in eight streams in the following chapters.

Introduction Chapter: Finding our way to 4th Wave Grounded Theory Organizational Research Methods


  1. Chapter 1: RPO1 - All 8 streams begin with or discounting Plato's dialectic and See Boje's YouTube video (34 minutes) on 4th Wave Grounded Theory and the ways Plato's Dialectic can help organizaitonal research methods with a 'conversational interviewing' method, and a double twisted spiral
  2. Chapter 2: RPO2 - 6 streams revise Hegel's dialectic (Heidegger, Žižek, Savall, Follett, Bhaskar, Benjamin/True Storytelling; see Video # 2 on Hegel and Marx/Engels
  3. Chapter 3: RPO3 - 2 streams extend Marx & Engel's historical materialism dialectic (Bhaskar, Benjamin/True Storytelling; see Transistion YouTube Hegel, Marx and Follett
  4. Chapter 4: RPO4 - Follett’s Relational Process Ontology extension of Hegelian dialectic - and -

    YOUTUBE video Mary Parker Follett and Mabel Sanchez's study of Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) with interview between Boje and Sanchez

  5. Third in series of ORGANIZATIONAL RESEARCH METHODS. This one is about Mary Parker Follett, Mother of Systems Theory. Mabel Sanchez and David Boje take you to the BOYCOTT WENDYS movement by Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a worker-based human rights organization internationally recognized for its achievements in Worker-driven SYSTEMS of MONITORING and EDUCATION in ending HUMAN SLAVERY in the Tomato fields. for more info click on Follett in my new book draft. Thank you

  6. Chapter 5: RPO5 - Heidegger’s Critical Ontology (3 relational process ontolgoies are Nietzeachean more than Hegelian; see the Heidegger video: and Heidegger ontology featured in Boje's organizational research methods
  7. Chapter 6: RPO6 - Latour’s Actor Network Theory (2nd of Nietzechean steams that is also a revision to Hegel) and Latour ANT research methods or
  8. Chapter 7: RPO7 - Barad’s Sociomateriality of Agential Realism and Eugene & Boje

  9. Chapter 8: RPO8 - Žižek’s Revival of Hegelian Dialectics
  10. Chapter 9: RPO9 - Bhaskar’s Critical Realism Dialectics
  11. Chapter 10: RPO10 - Brier’s Cybersemiotics Dialectic approach to Organization Research
  12. Chapter 11: RPO11 - Deleuze’s Rhizomatics and Multifractality in Organization Research
  13. Chapter 12: RPO12- Savall’s Socioeconomic, Qualimetrics and Tetranormalizing
  14. Chapter 13: RPO13 - Benjamin/True Storytelling Praxis of Embodiment


Following is overview table of RPO chapter epistemic, relational, process ontologies. The chapters constitute steps in the assemblage formation of the eight streams of 4th Wave Grounded Theory organizaitonal research methodologies.

Table 1: 4th Wave Relational Process Ontologies in Dialectical Organizing Systems (Boje, 1 August, 2017)




    RPO1 Plato Pedagogical Socratic dialectic discourse (conversation) Discourse (conversation) between two or more people holding different perspectives Socratic process of dialectic dialogue helping others arrive at better concepts and find truth Double twisted spiraling of spiritual and earthly, love and strife, concord and discord, sameness and difference People, government and society learning to live life of virtue with equity, justice, and beauty Create spacetimes for dialogic syllogism; turn another to philosophy
    RPO2 Hegel 2 dialectics: Negation of the negation in dialectics of history; also a thesis-antithesis-synthesis dialectic Thesis and antithesis become stuck in fixity, and contradictions emerge 3 moments: fixity, dialectical, and speculative Being-for-self is opposed by moment of Being-for-others, and becomes speculative on ways to negate the contradictions Spirit initially abstract begins to manifest in social and material world with agential force Spirit of rationality works out in governance and economy
    RPO3 Marx & Engels Negation of negation, in progress of history [historical materialism] (without spirit) Ideologies of the classes are in dialectic conflict As the capitalist class exploits the working and poorest classes there is resistance (negating the oppressors moves) Economic classes are in process of exploitation and resistance against oppression and come to recognize their own alienation and reflect on fetishism of consumption Material conditions (economic wealthy) are working to develop surplus value from labor Engage in democratic socialism until that is negated to become communism
    RPO4 Follett Studied Hegel in college and applies dialectic to managing conflict, change, and governance in thesis-antithesis synthesis dialectic More wedded to thesis-antithesis-synthesis model than was Hegel Mother of Systems Theory; Follows Whitehead's process model and part of American Pragmatism movement Let the human relations treat the 'Situation' as the invisible leader in decisions interweaving of social and material aspects in the ‘Law of the Situation.’ Integration across differences to resolve conflicts
    RPO5 Heidegger Seeks to reconceptualize Hegelian dialectic temporality Ontology is different from epistemic schema and ontic (empiric) Things ready-to-hand vs. present-at-hand in a process Authentic self Being-in-the-world Equipmentality, supplies, Nature with materiality ready-to-hand  
    RPO6 Latour Actor Network Theory There is something beyond social constructivism Post-social constructivist; Linguistic turn went too far in dismissing materiality Sociomaterialist Social actors and material 'actants' inter -networking  
    RPO7 Barad Indistinct Fusion following quantum physics of Neils Bohr & Latour Primacy of Agential Cut of Boundary- making Practices mediate relationships Inextricably intertwined constitutively Entangled inta-activity of Materiality with Discourse Integrate or Force Merge by Transcending or Reframing Practices
    RPO8 Žižek Neo-Hegelian; Revival of Hegel for contemporary world Supports Barad's agential cuts Žižek prefers a dialectic process to mediated relationships Humans are exploiting the earth and using sustainability as false consciousness excuse Social and material are in dialectic interplay relationship Deconstruct the hegemonic political and economic forces at play
    RPO9 Bhaskar Neo-Hegelian, & differs from Heideggerian ontology Challenges the inductive model of epistemology Critical Realism Ontology with focus on stratified open systems across levels of reality There are multiple levels of reality beyond the empirical, and the actual, and the dialectical is not only historical there are spiritual and enchantment levels Material entities (mountains, oceans, weather) can exist independent of our storytelling (discourse), and materially climate change can be affected by human activity (consumption & production carbon footprints) Correcting by iteration of Previous Findings in light of generative mechanisms
    RPO10 Brier Triadic dialectics with Charles Sanders Peirce Sensemaking epistemic is combined with more material ontology and triadics We embody matter and energy that is physical, chemical, biological, and spiritual integrates Charles Sanders Peirce's semiology with the autopoiesis of Ed Luhmann's cybernetic systems theory The observing system in the middle of the Star Model captures and collapses the waves of possibilities into actual events. Akin to quantum storytelling consultancy
    RPO11 Deleuze Nietzchean and Rhizomatics, fractals, and ways cycles becomes spirals Plato dialectic Repetition and difference series of assemblage Rhizomatic movement and spiral movement    
    RPO12 Savall Organizations' metascripts are in disarray Way of knowing is through observation, interviews Release untapped potential through negotiated contracting & spiral processes Move toward democratic processes of communication, coordination, & conciliation in double spiral: explosive spiral (centripetal) & implosive spiral (centripetal) Social and behavioral relations play out in material conditions & results Researcher Interventionist consultancy
    RPO13 True Storytelling Coconstituted by Plato, Hegel, Marxist dialectics Narrative ways of knowing are taking over living story Co-creation of Ensemble sotrytelling Dialogic and dialectical relationality