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Heroes and victims: fund manager sensemaking, self-legitimation and storytelling

Eshraghi, Arman and Taffler, Richard 2015. Heroes and victims: fund manager sensemaking, self-legitimation and storytelling. Accounting and Business Research 45 (6-7) , pp. 691-714. 10.1080/00014788.2015.1081556

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Abstract

This paper explores how fund managers continue to do their job when on one level they know they cannot all be exceptional. They do this by telling stories, constructing satisfying narratives to explain to themselves, as well as others, why their investments work out and providing equally plausible reasons for when they underperform. Using the story typology of Gabriel (2000. Storytelling in Organizations: Facts, Fictions, and Fantasies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.) – epic, tragic, comic and romantic, we explore two sets of fund manager narratives. First, we analyse the transcripts of interviews with 50 equity fund managers in some of the world's largest investment houses. Second, we examine a similar number of published fund manager reports to their investors. In both cases, we show how storytelling is used by asset managers to make sense of what they do and justify their value to themselves as well their clients and employers. Similar processes are employed in both sets of narratives, one verbal and informal, the other written and formal. Our study serves to highlight how storytelling is an integral part of the work of the professional investor.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0001-4788
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2021 12:00
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/115559

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