Storytelling Leadership: A Semiotics Theories Qualitative Inquiry into the Components Forming an Oral Story

Storytelling Leadership: A Semiotics Theories Qualitative Inquiry into the Components Forming an Oral Story

Author: 
Earl F. Cater
Program of study: 
Ed.D./CI
Abstract: 
Using semiotics theories as a guide, the qualitative examination of storytelling literature and current storytelling practitioners provides research support for a list of storytelling components. Analysis of story building components discovered from literature in comparison to the results from research questionnaire responses by current storytellers confirms the existence of a historic list of regularities in storytelling practice. The analysis of current storytelling literature, narrative research literature, and historic Western European literature enables the development of five descriptive statements guiding the formation of a story. The comparison of the beliefs and practices of current storytellers to the five descriptive statements guiding the formation of a story provide a research method confirming regularities in storytelling practices across historic and ethnic boundaries. The resulting list of story components support the central research question.
Dedication: 
I dedicate the following work to the glory of God, revealed in Jesus, who lives in me. Research into storytelling became a reality through the encouragement and sustaining prayers from church members, extended family, and coworkers at University of Phoenix. The support from my wife Erma, children Heidi, Holly, Heather, Hans, and Hannah, and 16 grandchildren protected and carried me through serious illness and enabled my success. My classroom team member Janice Chayt challenged my pretenses, tested my mettle, and kept me on the doctoral path through a dark time when illness left me unable to think clearly. In a colorful vernacular, Jan saved my bacon. I owe sincere gratitude to the following individuals: Dr. Halvorson who encouraged me to begin my doctoral journey. Dr. Santiague who provided encouragement and insight. Dr. Sorenson who carefully guided me through the completion of my dissertation. Dr. Kanell for enthusiasm for me and the topic I chose. Dr. Dickey for stepping at the 11th hour in to provide assistance. And, Baxter Black, comedian, cowboy poet, and storyteller. Baxter took the time from a busy travel schedule to help me to understand how many great storytellers accomplish their task. To each of these, I offer my sincere appreciation for their support, and to them I dedicate my work.
Acknowledgements: 
Spindly and decrepit Henry hung out at my father’s D-X station and spun joy into my boyhood with remarkable stories. This spark fanned a passion for storytelling into a small glowing flame the day he punctuated a story by popping out a glass eye and reinstalling it every way except the correct way. The flame grew into a blazing forest fire as my dad added a river of stories. As an adult, I discovered stories from literature and the Bible where storytelling took on a spiritual dimension. My fire raged bright the day the inner voice of the Holy Spirit moved me to build a large stage appropriate easel and begin using my highly trained artistic talent to chalk a three by four feet picture while telling a story. Prior to introducing chalk I told stories, with chalk I made stories come alive. Children ran to the front to sit cross-legged and mesmerized on the floor. A generation later, middle-aged adults walk up to me and describe a painting seen in childhood. When I ask about the story, they describe my presentation and say, “I will never forget that story, and it came alive for me!” I owe thanks for these results to the power of God given me through Jesus.