Knowledge Transferred Through Organizational Stories: A Typology

Document Type




The purpose of this study is to look at organizational stories shared among academic librarians who work at the reference desk, and create a typology of the stories based on the knowledge transferred in these. Previous research suggests that stories are the main way in which organizations communicate common values, organizational rules and promote organizational learning. The main question researched here will be: what kind of knowledge is transferred through the stories shared among librarians? This is an important consideration since the meaning carried through the story can shape the employee’s perception of the organization.


This research employed long interviews using a semi-structured questionnaire based on the works of Yiannis Gabriel (2000) as a guide. A total of 20 reference librarians working at four different academic institutions in the southern USA participated in this study.


The analysis of the data reveals a typology of organizational stories shared. The main topics covered by the stories all deal with cultural knowledge exchanges, while also serve as coping mechanisms and present important organizational culture aspects. The stories shared also reflect negative aspects related to the lack of proper communication within the organizations, with the presence of rumors among the narratives shared.


These findings can serve as a first step for the development of healthier organizational cultures in libraries and may have implications for training and development, change management, motivation and collective memory.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

APA Citation

Colón-Aguirre, M. (2015). Knowledge transferred through organizational stories: A typology. Library Management, 37(6/7), 421 – 433.