Many Shades of ‘Green’: An Exploration of Sustainability Storytelling Across and Within University Organizations

Suzanne Lynn Conner, Sarah Fischbach


Researchers apply theories by Boje and the storytelling community to further understand how organizations, specifically universities, portray themselves on different fronts through storytelling in regard to sustainability. The current study expands the current knowledge regarding stories (i.e. narrative, living story, antenarrative and microstoria) and demonstrates how organizations need to portray a unified image since stories can, and do, shape the physical, objective world. Two complementary studies are conducted to explore the sustainability story of university campuses. In Study One, three southwestern university campuses are explored through campus tour narratives. Study Two looks in-depth at one university to help understand how the story is told from inside the organization which leads to what is observed by the final consumer. Several inconsistencies are found on how the story is told to prospective students. Being present on different campuses paints a picture of how vastly different the stories told to potential students are.  


Sustainability; storytelling; living story; narrative; antenarrative

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