Re: Storytelling LO1065

Dr. Ivan Blanco (BLANCO@BU4090.BARRY.EDU)
Thu, 4 May 1995 17:09:30 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO1036 --

> Date: Wed, 3 May 1995 06:25:55 -0400 (EDT)
> From: Mike Gurstein <>
<<< some deletions here >>>

> In the course of the next few months I was given the kind of training
> (education?) that I would imagine a new "brave" entering the warriours
> circle or a newly commissioned officer in the military would
> receive--stories about incidents (the code of behaviour), stories about
> people (tribal rules), famous myths and rumours (the tribal memory),
> cautionary stories (survival lore), jokes and scandals (the
> organization's folkways/limits of acceptable behaviour).
> They spent a lot of time and attention with me--not quite mentoring more
> like teaching me how to survive. They could see the end of their careers so
> I guess, the jargon term would be they were in their "generative" periods.

This is a great description of a process many members of the
Caracas, Venezuela Fire Department. I think that this process takes place
in most fire departments in different parts of ther world (I did a little
research m,any years ago into this). But I haven't see this kind of
process in any of the other organizations I worked for, including
universities. One item that couold probably be included in the "tribal
memory" is the heroics of some of the members. This socuialization
process seems to go on forever. There are additions to the different
components that come from events happening at the different units (fire
stations), or from the field (as in big fires, rescues, etc.) where there
many chances for new heroics, jokes, rumors, etc. So the experience is
very dynamic and "alive"!

> Marvelous experience. Very specific, very circumstancial--but I suspect
> an almost universal process where the tribe retains its elders.
> Mike Gurstein
> Mike Gurstein <>
This retention of the elders might be the reason why the process
takes place. In most fire departments, members tend to join at a very
young age, move/evolve/grow/etc. through the ranks, and retire some three
decades later. Membership in other organizations floats too much to
generate the kind of process described above. This takes us back to the
discussion of corporate repository, and its importance!


R. IVAN BLANCO, Ph.D. Voice 305 899-3515
Assoc. Prof. & Director Fax 305 892-6412
International Business Programs
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"Las naciones marchan hacia el termino de su grandeza, con
el mismo paso que camina su educacion." "The nations march
toward their greatness at the same pace as their educational
systems evolve." Simon Bolivar