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 Research Methods: Storytelling In Action", (March 15), URL = <>


STUDYGUIDES for YOUTUBES for ONTOLOGICAL-ORGANIZATIONAL RESEARCH METHODS (O-ORM): Storytelling in Action by David M. Boje (London: Routledge, due March 2018).



Then Begin Swimming in each of the 10 Streams of O-ORM.






DEWEY (American Pragmatism)



SØREN BRIER (<-Peirce + Luhmann)



GILLES DELEUZE (<-Nietzsche & Freud)

Qualitative- & Numeric-MULTIPLICITY


MARTIN HEIDEGGER (<-Hegel & Nietzsche)



KAREN BARAD (<-Bruno Latour & Neils Bohr)



SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK (<-Hegel & Lacan)



HENRI SAVALL (<-Hegel & Plato)



MARY PARKER FOLLETT (<-Hegel & Whitehead)



ROY BHASKAR (<-Hegel & Heidegger)



DAVID BOJE, JENS LARSEN, LENA BRUUN (<-Plato, Ole Kirkeby, & Walter Benjamin)


There are 10 streams of Ontological-Organizational Research Methods (O-ORM). Each has a different ontological method being applie in ORM. Ontology is defined as the meaing of Being, our existence in the world and the universe. I have chosen exemplars who are protagonists and antagonists in developing O-ORM that I consider a 4th Wave Grounded Theory. Some of the exemplars do O-ORM with either a + or a - DIALECTIC method (or + Trilectic, in case of Savall). A + dialectical method (e.g. Heidegger, Follett, Bhaskar) builds on or greatly revises Hegel's thesis-antithesis-synthesis model. A - DIALECTIC is also extending Hegel and/or Plato, but in a 'negation of the negation' approach (See Hegel Study Guide; and Plato Study Guide). Heidegger (1962), moves a way from a 'negation of the negation' dialectical method and develops a different approach to time in his classic, Being and Time book. Others do O-ORM with Qualitative-&/ or a Numeric-MULTIPLICITY series method. A Qualitative-MULTIPLICITY series can be as different as the assemblage networks of Latour, the entanglement of Barad, Peirce's series of traids in semiotics, or the early work of Deleuze, the Logic of Sense and Difference and Repetition books. Later work by Deleuze with Guattari is about Numeric-MULTIPLICITY, the body-without-organs (BwO), the war machine, the kinds of exploitive capitalism that is furthers capture by enslavement. Deleuze wrote against dialectics of both Plato and Hegel, finding them - (negative) and was instead focused on multiplicities that did not become progress narratives, life getting better with each repetition.

Figure 1: Chart of Exemplars of Dialectical and Multiplicity approaches to Ontological-Organizational Research Methods (O-ORM) (© D. M. Boje, 2017)

Most all ORM ontologists are working to extend into, or to move away from, Hegal, Plato, and Marx & Engel's dialectical notions, which are quite different from each other. You will need a grounding in both (See Hegel Study Guide; and Plato Study Guide; and Marx Study Guide).

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

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

Figure 2: Ten Streams of Relational Process Ontology Assemblages Co-constituting Fourth Wave Grounded Theory organizational research methods

Each of the exemplars of O-ORM have made significant contributions to either a dialectical develoment or a multiplicity series methodology currently bieng appplied by many other organizational researchers doing what I call "relational process ontology" (RPO). Relations is either dialectical (+ or -) or it is multiplicity (+ or -). I attempt to appreciate all four varieties. Process is approached differently in each of the nine streams. Each has an important difference in the mode and activity of dialectic. Varied relational process ontolgies combine and assemble in the nine 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 O-ORM.

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.

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.

Nine Streams (each a chapter) in the 'Organizational Research Methods: Storytelling in Action' book trace their complicity in nine streams in he quest for the flame of truth and 'true' storytelling.

Flame of Truth (image by D. Boje, 2017)

These are presented in the paradigm map. Each has a different answer to what is 'true' storytelling-in-action, the theme of my new book for Routledge, coming due March 2018.

Paradigm Map of how 9 Streams of O ORM approach Truth in true storytelling © D M Boje 2017

Figure 3: How the 10 Streams approach the question, What is True Storytelling? (original drawin © D. M. Boje, 2017).

This is a summary of the approach to TRUE STORYTELLING in the nine streams of O-ORM:

STREAM 1. MULTIPLICITY (series of contingencies TRUE STORYTELLING = Reflective Experience as Method including Double Moves of Inductive and Deductive Science

STREAM 2. MULTIPLICITY (series of Triads, multiple Autopoieses) TRUE STORYTELLING = Multiple interactive logics  with Triple Evolutions (Chance, Habituated, & Love); Without Agape, Greed capitalism takes over!

STREAM 3. MULTIPLICITY (early work is  + semiotic; later work w/Guattari  = rhizomatic) TRUE STORYTELLING = Phantasms arising from abyss have quasi-effects; Nietzschean Eternal Return of same constellation of Characters


STREAM 4. DIALECTIC (Disclosing Authentic Being-in-the-world by changing Hegel’s duration-time to primordial time) TRUE STORYTELLING = uncovering authentic potential-for-Being-Whole in space & time in-the-world


STREAM 5. MULTIPLICITY (Entangled Assemblage) TRUE STORYTELLING =  Agential Realism materiality with discourse; ethico-onto-epistem-ology of quantum physics; Observational apparatus does agential cuts on what is true



STREAM 6. DIALECIC (Hegelian Negation of Negation for 21st century) TRUE STORYTELLING = wants to revise agential realism to become dialectical social-materiality


STREAM 7. TRILECTIC Qualimetric Scientific Method TRUE STORYTELLING = interplay of Social, Economic, Technological & Quality System using experimentation, hypothesis testing, Intervenor-Researcher of Change Management


STREAM 8. DIALECTIC (Hegelian Synthesis) TRUE STORYTELLING = Unifying Differences in conflict resolution;  Spiritual; Empowerment means growing own power; democratic teams networked,  Science that is anti-Taylorism; THE FORGOTTEN MOTHER OF SYSTEMS THEORY


STREAM 9. DIALECTIC= Scalable Stratified Open System TRUE STORYTELLING = multiple ontologies from micro to ecological to spiritual, with fractal scalability; against epistemic fallacy of Inductive Logic


STREAM 10. MULTIPLICITY & DIALECTIC TRUE STORYTELLING = Continues Plato’s Greek Square (True, Just,  Good & Beautiful)= Freedom, But with Multiplicity Series focus of Living Story Webs & Antenarrative Fore-Caring




Introduction to 9 Streams: Finding our way to 4th Wave Grounded Theory O-ORM



STREAM 2: Deleuze’s Rhizomatics and Multifractality in Organization Research STUDY GUIDE


    Latour’s Actor Network Theory STUDY GUIDE (2nd of Nietzechean steams that is also a revision to Hegel) and Latour ANT research methods or


    STREAM 5: Žižek’s Revival of Hegelian Dialectics STUDY GUIDE

  2. mabel video

    In this episode David Boje and Mabel Sanchez review Slavoj Žižek Hegelian critique of Karen Barad's Agential Realism, from his book Less Than Nothing (2012). In the video Mabel gives her rendition on what Barad might say about this. This is part of a series on organizational research methods. Study guides available at

STREAM 6: Savall’s Socioeconomic, Qualimetrics and Tetranormalizing STUDY GUIDE/ Socially Resposible Capitalism

STREAM 7: Follett’s Relational Process Ontology extension of Hegelian dialecti STUDY GUIDE - and -

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

    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

STREAM 8: Bhaskar’s Critical Realism Dialectics STUDY GUIDE ;

    What is Dialectical Critical Realism? David Boje and Secret Guest look at Roy Bhaskar's Empirical, Actual, and Realist Ontologies ...

STREAM 9: What is True Storytelling Praxis STUDY GUIDE ?(Boje, Larsen, & Brunn article)

    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 9 Dialectical-Multiplicity Organizing Systems (Boje, 1 August, 2017)

Ontology Stream


Dialectical &/or Multiplicity

Type of Ontology

Process Standpoint

Relationality Standpoint


1. Reflexive Method American Pragmatism--> Dewey Multiciplicity Experience as method & double move of induction & deduction People are part of Nature and we don't need transcendential or universalizaiton Naturalism plus a focus on ongoing learning  
2. Cybersemiotic
Brier-->Peirce & Luhmann
Semiotic & Cybernetic
Triple Evolutionary

3. Spirals & Rhizomes

Nietzsche -> Deleuze (& Guattari)


Series in movement

Eternal Recurrences
Deterritorialization Reterritorialization



4. Authenticity

Nietzsche to Heidegger



Future in Arrival



5.  Sociomateriality

Nietzsche, Latour -> Barad


Agential realism

Agential Realism



Bring back Hegel

Plato, Kant,->Hegel -> Žižek


Negation of negation

Emergent becoming


Varies by antagonist

Socio-economic Trilectic Positivism

Plato & Hegel -> Savall




Democratic participation

Within socio-economic framework

Democratic Dialectics

Plato->Hegel ->Follett



Integration & harmonizing of differences

Spiritual & democratic

More social than material

9. Scalar Open Systems

Plato, Kant, Hegel, Marx to Bhaskar



Critical Realism

Multifractal Scalability


10. True Storytelling

Plato->Kirkeby-> Boje, Jens Larsen, Lena Brunn

Both Dialectical & Multiplicity

‘True’ storytelling


Answerability Ethics



Table 2: 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