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ELE 3906 Storytelling for Business Practices

ELE 3906 Storytelling for Business Practices

Course code: 
ELE 3906
Communication and Culture
Course coordinator: 
Linn-Birgit Kampen Kristensen
Course name in Norwegian: 
Storytelling for Business Practices
Product category: 
Bachelor - Programme Electives
2024 Spring
Active status: 
Level of study: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

Stories engage and persuade by playing on our emotions. They influence our professional work life in areas as diverse as organizational sensemaking and capital market performance. Organizational stories can turn leaders into heroes or villains, stories told by customers can make or break a brand, and the narrative structure of prospectuses can influence the success of stock market launches.

Understanding the role storytelling plays and how to employ it has thus become an important tactical tool at the disposal of managers, leaders, and entrepreneurs. Some, like co-founder of Apple Inc., Steve Jobs, have applied storytelling principals similar to those that underpin Hollywood movies. His presentations, deemed legendary by some, were structured as stories of tension and struggle between heroes and villains, which appealed to his audiences’ emotions.

To develop such storytelling skills, we have to open up the black box of story to explicate, articulate and codify the nature of story. In this course we work with factual and fictional stories from business and entertainment to recognize their universal nature. Students learn to structure stories to become more believable, engaging and persuasive.

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

After completing the course, students should be familiar with the microfoundations of storytelling. They should have knowledge of:

  • How the narrative mode of thought differs from the propositional mode of thought
  • How stories are distinct from other forms of narratives
  • The persuasive power of stories: identification and narrative transportation
  • Story structure
  • Principles of effective storytelling for desired outcomes and audience reactions
  • Grand stories and metanarratives
  • Be familiar with business applications of storytelling.
  • How storytelling is applied in areas such as management and marketing.
Learning outcomes - Skills

Students should develop storytelling and -making skills. After completing the course, they should be able to:

  • Distinguish stories from other narratives
  • Analyze stories and identify basic story elements
  • Identify complete and incomplete stories
  • Evaluate story structures
  • Create more engaging stories from given materials
  • Structure stories effectively according to desired emotional reaction
General Competence

Students should understand:

  • How stories convey meaning, not necessarily truth,
  • That stories can be used to deceive, misrepresent, and distort.

Students should develop:

  • Ethical awareness parallel with their storytelling skills
  • Capabilities to consider and discuss ethical dilemmas that may arise when applying storytelling to business practice.
Course content

The course consists of five parts and topics, but each topic does not take up an equal part of the course. As emphasis is placed on developing students’ storytelling skills, more time is spent on the third and fourth topic than on the others.

Topic 1: Relevance of storytelling

  • Storytelling affecting individuals, organizations, and markets

Topic 2: How stories work

  • The narrative mode of thought
  • Meaning, entertainment, and emotions
  • Narrative transportation and identification

Topic 3: What stories are

  • Stories and other types of narratives
  • Basic story elements: characters, plots, and settings
  • Grand stories and metanarratives

Topic 4: How to create and use stories

  • Story structure: putting story elements together
  • The universal nature of story structure
  • The Hero’s Journey and The Quest
  • Working with the Universal Story Model

Topic 5: The dark side of storytelling

  • The post-truth era: substituting truth with meaning
  • The storyteller’s ethical dilemmas
Teaching and learning activities

The course consists of 15 in-class sessions (30 hours). The seminars will not be recorded. Throughout the course, students will also develop their own stories and submit original and restructured/reworked versions of these as mandatory coursework. The project-paper (ordinary exam) will be based on the story-development students do with their own stories.

Software tools
No specified computer-based tools are required.
Additional information

Re-sit examiniation

Students that have not gotten approved the coursework requirements, must re-take the exercises during the next scheduled course.

Students that have not passed the written examination or who wish to improve their grade may re-take the examination in connection with the next scheduled examination.


Higher Education Entrance Qualification


Deviations in teaching and exams may occur if external conditions or unforeseen events call for this.

Required prerequisite knowledge
Exam categoryWeightInvigilationDurationGroupingComment exam
Exam category:
Form of assessment:
Written submission
Exam code:
ELE 39061
Grading scale:
Grading rules:
Internal examiner
Examination when next scheduled course
100No1 Semester(s)Individual Project paper
Exam category:Submission
Form of assessment:Written submission
Weight: 100
Grouping (size):Individual
Duration:1 Semester(s)
Comment:Project paper
Exam code:ELE 39061
Grading scale:ECTS
Resit:Examination when next scheduled course
Type of Assessment: 
Ordinary examination
Total weight: 
Course codeCredit reduction
EXC 3676100
Credit reductions:
Course code:EXC 3676
Credit reduction:100
Student workload
30 Hour(s)
Prepare for teaching
20 Hour(s)
Includes individual or group case analyses of stories in video and text formats
Student's own work with learning resources
95 Hour(s)
40 Hour(s)
Work on project paper throughout the semester
15 Hour(s)
Mandatory coursework
Sum workload: 

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 7,5 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of at least 200 hours.