Scandinavian Working Papers in Business Administration

SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Business Administration,
Stockholm School of Economics

No 2007:7: Restructuring an Empire. A narrative study of the turnaround of the telecom company Ericsson.

Carina Beckerman ()
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Carina Beckerman: Dept. of Business Administration, Stockholm School of Economics

Abstract: The turnaround of the telecom company Ericsson is considered a unique chapter in Swedish business life in terms of complexity, size and speed. This paper focuses on how some of the interpretative schemes of the employees were transformed during the turnaround and the organizational setting restructured. Instead of making a conventional study of a change process this study uses narrative method and explores the transformation through the eyes of four people. In this way this study hopes to be able to present a broader picture of some of the organizational learning that takes place during events like this, since storytelling is crucial when people make sense of their everyday life. A narrative analysis approach will not result in the one “true” account of a phenomenon. However, narrative analysis can provide detailed insights into individual informants understanding of events and highlight similarities and differences in interpretations that are interesting also for outsiders to take part of. The findings indicate that not only the interpretative schemes for how to run the company were transformed but also how the employees view the world.

Keywords: interpretative schemes; management; narrative method; structuration theory; turnaround; telecom; Ericsson.

16 pages, First version: April 20, 2007. Revised: November 14, 2007. Earlier revisions: May 17, 2007, August 1, 2007, August 3, 2007, August 10, 2007, August 11, 2007.

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