Narrative infrastructure in product creation processes

Jasper Deuten, Arie Rip

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic

103 Citations (Scopus)


In product creation processes, perhaps even more than in organization processes in general, uncertainties are addressed and complexity is reduced. In retrospect, linearized success stories are told. The history of a product innovation in a biotechnology firm is used to show how actually, over time, attributions and typifications in stories, and the implied stories contained in interactions, link up and an overall plot emerges. Such a social-semiotic analysis identifies the narrative infrastructure which enables, as well as constrains, further actions, just like narrative enables and constrains the characters involved. In the specific `genre' of product creation processes, the role of `hero' shifts from the project team to the emerging product itself. Managers and other actors involved can profit from the reflexive understanding offered by social-semiotic analysis, and avoid becoming captive of the path they follow, even though reflexivity may hinder the build-up of thrust in the process.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)69-95
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • METIS-149025
  • IR-34333

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