Excerpt from course description

The Art of Storytelling for Business Practices


This is a summer course for summer 2021.
Maximum 50 students.

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.

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


This is an excerpt from the complete course description for the course. If you are an active student at BI, you can find the complete course descriptions with information on eg. learning goals, learning process, curriculum and exam at portal.bi.no. We reserve the right to make changes to this description.