Article published in:Narratives as Social Practice in Organisational Contexts
Edited by Dorien Van De Mieroop, Jonathan Clifton and Stephanie Schnurr
[Narrative Inquiry 32:1] 2022
► pp. 173–195
Narrative practices in debt collection encounters
Drawing on a corpus of 100 authentic telephone-mediated interactions from a British credit union, this paper is the first to examine narrative practices in debt collection encounters. It demonstrates that the credit union’s debt collector routinely invites and supports indebted individuals’ narratives using alignment and affiliation. Through a small stories approach, the paper therefore highlights that an organisation’s core values and principles can be seen “in action” in the ways that a professional orients to lay-people’s stories in professional-lay discourse. In this case, the collector’s narrative practices are emblematic of the credit union’s consciously ethical, responsible, and debtor-centric approach to collecting debt. The analysis also shows that indebted individuals perform important interactive work through their narrative accounts in terms of mitigating responsibility for their debt, constructing blameless and acceptable identities, and implicitly encouraging (or explicitly instructing) the collector to affiliate with their stance.
Keywords: debt collection, (dis)affiliation, (dis)alignment, identity construction, narrative accounts, narrative practices, organisational values, small stories
- Narrative framework
- Narratives in organisational contexts
- Debt collection encounters and credit unions
- Orientation to narrative production: (Dis)affiliation and (dis)alignment
- Data and method
- Discussion and conclusions
Available under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 4.0 license.
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Published online: 27 October 2020
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