The creation and application of Artificial Folklore as a means to explore the secondary service of Facilities Management (FM)

  • Patricia Mccarroll

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis explores the storied spaces and archetypes of a secondary service, using Facilities Management (FM) as an example of non-core and increasing outsourced organisational functions. At its core is the development and implementation of artificial folklore, which intertwines organisational behaviour, storytelling, and a folkloric approach. An in depth exploration of FM is investigated, exploring the people, place and process (Tranfield & Akhlaghi 1995) which reveals elements such as liminality and enchantment. This leads onto a concentration of the storytelling nature of secondary services, specifically utilising the genre of fairytales to investigate the patterns within the FM storied space, and their archetypes. Three delivery mechanisms of FM are identified: Consultant, external Service Provider and an internal (Inhouse) organisational division. These three groups are demarcated and tell both deconstructed and reconstructed fairytales about their chosen profession, using fairytales as a guide. This innovative, arts-based approach revealed organisational illegitimacy within the secondary service, supported by liminality, which allows the metamorphosis that is increasingly required in a turbulent organisational environment. Although the concept of FM is misunderstood outside the discipline, storied spaces of the FM collective reveal no such ambiguity. What is revealed is a recognised connection across the three groups in their role as the necessary evil represented by the Shadow archetype. The artificial folklore approach then culminates a ghostwritten tale for each identified FM service stream: the consultant’s Hansel and Gretel, the service provider’s Goldilocks and the inhouse provider’s Cinderella.
Date of Award1 Aug 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorJohn Hassard (Supervisor) & Paula Hyde (Supervisor)


  • folklore
  • Secondary services
  • Storytelling
  • ghostwriting
  • liminality
  • illegitimacy.

Cite this