The Storytelling External Stakeholder: How Non-Profit Organizations in Supportive Housing Can Help Ensure That Externals Stakeholder Stories End in Connection
thesisposted on 2021-05-21, 16:42 authored by Jason Dean Spence
This paper examines the need for organizations to listen to and learn from the stories of their external stakeholders, especially in the context of supportive housing. To this end, this study builds on research conducted by the Dream Team in 2014, which was compiled to create a bill of rights for supportive housing tenants in the Greater Toronto Area. The literature describes many benefits of storytelling for organizations, but often overlooks the stories of external stakeholders in favour of leadership stories. And yet it is widely understood that it is impossible for one story or storyteller to completely capture the essence of any one organization. Ignoring the stories of external stakeholders creates an atmosphere of disconnection and is tantamount to turning a blind eye to unmet market needs. This paper proposes a framework in which a three-pronged linkage between “stakeholder engagement”, “intersectionality” (Crenshaw, 1991), and “organizational attention” (Gómez, 2015) informs an organization’s understanding of external stakeholders’ “exit” and “voice” behaviours (Hirschman, 1970)—and ultimately helps to ensure that the stories of external stakeholders end in connection. The findings of this study reveal that the subjunctive mood may typically be used to tell stories of disconnection, but more research is needed to determine this. Also, the data suggest that the biggest barrier to communication between tenants and supportive housing organizations may be the myth that people with mental illness and/or substance use issues are incompetent children who must be taken care of.