In English

Storytelling in Information Systems Development

The project takes a critical look at storytelling as a part of information systems development and applies narratological methods to the development of information systems and organizational management. Our project, known by its abbreviation INFOSTORY, is funded by the Emil Aaltonen Foundation. 

Aims and objectives 

Focusing on organizational storytelling, our goal is to create and apply new research and educational paradigms in the management and development of organizations. In our case study, we examine the procurement project of the client and patient information system Apotti, commissioned by the Hospital District of Helsinki (HUS) and the municipalities of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. We take a closer look at the news coverage and documentation around Apotti, as well as details related to the development and procurement of the information system. The project is led by docent and university lecturer Maria Mäkelä, professor Samuli Pekkola and professor Jari Stenvall. 

The duration of the INFOSTORY project is four years, from 2019 to 2022. 


INFOSTORY brings together experts in multidisciplinary narrative research at Narrare, the Centre for Interdisciplinary Narrative Studies at Tampere University. Narrare is an internationally renowned research organization involving researchers from across disciplines and faculties, and hosting both Finnish and international visiting scholars. INFOSTORY brings together narratological research carried out in the Tampere3 -higher education community.  

Maria Mäkelä, former director of Narrare and managing head of the INFOSTORY-project, has developed both the research of experientiality of narrative in various media and multidisciplinary narrative critical approach (Dangers of Narrative -project and Instrumental Narratives -consortium project). Matti Hyvärinen, deputy director of Narrare, is also involved in the project. The narratologists involved in the project are oriented towards developing multidisciplinary narrative theory and methods, and teaching them in medicine, for example. 

Information management is part of the Laboratory of Industrial Engineering and Information Management at Tampere University of Technology. Recent research has focused in particular on the various factors of organizational change caused by information systems: conflict, operational processes, stakeholders and the legitimacy of measures (Salmimaa et al. 2018; Alanne et al. 2017; Vilminko-Heikkinen & Pekkola 2017; Dang & Pekkola 2017). In these topics, narratives reflect the reality and experiences of individuals. Narratives have been used and collected primarily as qualitative research data. The person in charge of the project is Samuli Pekkola. 

Administrative science is part of the Tampere University School of Management. Resent research on organizations and management has focused especially on social and health services, related technological issues (Stenvall & Virtanen 2015; Laitinen & Stenvall 2016; Virtanen & Stenvall 2018; Virtanen, Stenvall, Kinder & Hamei 2018), and experienced conflicts in health and social services development projects (Rossi, Rannisto & Stenvall 2016). The studies have used narrative theories and methods (Laitinen, Kinder & Stenvall 2017; Kinder, Memon & Stenvall 2018). In administrative science research, qualitative material has often been collected as interviews, in which the interviewees seek to understand and explain their experiences in the form of a narrative. The project is led by Professor Jari Stenvall. 


The INFOSTORY -project focuses on the following problems: How do the narratives of organizational change brought about by the development of information systems live and die? What kind of conflicts do the actors in the information project face? How can technological change be made narratable, and how can the resulting narratives be used in developing (information) technology and in improving organization management? What are the risks associated with narrative communication between institutions, individuals and stakeholders? How can one structure and manage the relationship between organizational narratives and the values they communicate? 


The INFOSTORY-project draws on the basis of humanities and social research (SOC), administrative science (MAB) and knowledge management (MAB) research at the New Tampere University. The project will create a new technical and humanistic research and education package. The project is also a new opening for the disciplines involved: so far, narrativity has not been studied in information systems development. In narrative research, technology as context typically means digital media or science fiction. In management research, the need for more accurate and systemic methods of analysis of narratives (Krizek 2017) has recently come to the fore. 


The project is funded by the Emil Aaltonen Foundation. In 2018, the foundation selected the INFOSTORY-project as the first multidisciplinary project to be supported in a search for Tampere’s new higher education community. 


The best way to reach us is to contact doctoral researcher Pasi Raatikainen ( Send us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!