Compelling stories and multiple change narratives: the case of remote maternity services in Scotland
This article examines the role of stories in the redesign of maternity services in remote areasof Scotland. From a longitudinal study of six separate sites data were collected on the livedexperience of change and the significance of context and forms of involvement on individual andgroup attitudes and perceptions. Our focus here is on influence of stories in shaping change and theevaluations of change outcomes. Our essential argument is that compelling stories not only explainwhat happened in the past, they are able to shape our understanding of the present and influence howwe act in the future. Respondent narratives provide the evidence base from which research narratives,causal inferences, and theories are generated. By explaining what happened, and anticipating whatshould happen next, accounts are post-hoc theories, and before-the-event determinants, with thepotential to be causal factors in the ongoing change process. As such, the import of stories inmobilising public opinion, influencing government decision-making and steering processes of changeshould not be underestimated. Stories and storytelling remain powerful tools in legitimating publicpolicy and local change initiatives.