Improvisational Theatre in Management Education: Exploring Arts-based Approaches

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1. Improvisational Theatre in Management Education:Exploring Arts-based Approaches Dr. Brigitte Biehl-Missal bbb@aber.ac.uk Aberystwyth University, Wales, UK Visiting…
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  • 1. Improvisational Theatre in Management Education:Exploring Arts-based Approaches Dr. Brigitte Biehl-Missal bbb@aber.ac.uk Aberystwyth University, Wales, UK Visiting Researcher
  • 2. backgroundenhance student experience !facilitate effective learning outcomesenable different ways of learning and understanding
  • 3. arts-based approaches• changes in society  more spontaneous ways of managing• trend in management education• “The MFA is the New MBA . . . An arts degree is now perhaps the hottest credential in the world of business.” (Pink 2004, HBR)
  • 4. arts-based approaches• use of poetry, drama, sculpture, drawing …• be creative, make sense, improvise
  • 5. arts-based approaches• cross-fertilization of arts and leadership (Adler 2006)
  • 6. theatre and management• organizations as theatre (Mangham & Overington 1987; Goffman 1959)• manager as an artist• jazz metaphor for organizing / leadership
  • 7. theatre and management• overlap between managerial skills and histrionic skills• performative components• management as a performing art
  • 8. improv theatre• improvised text and action• props and settings not determined• active audience
  • 9. learning ‘experience’• theatre = aesthetic situation• liminal state (Turner, 1974)• ‘betwixt and between’
  • 10. improv theatre exercise• provide a ‘fun’ learning experience for students• better understand theoretical concepts by elaborating on different aspects of theory• practice and enhance theatrical skills.
  • 11. freeze tag• two actors engage in a scene based on physical positions suggested by the audience (kneeling, hands on hips, etc.). As the actors begin to move about and create a dialogue, another actor can “freeze” the action. He or she then assumes the physical position of one of the actors on stage and then unfreezes the scene and redirects the action by creating a new scene. (Moshavi 2001)
  • 12. „yes and-ing“• accept ideas developed by others and build on the, ensuring that verbal interaction is on- going• refrain from judging one’s own and others’ ideas, active listening, and thinking without criteria (e.g., being open to various interpretations of an idea, concept, or word)
  • 13. Case: marketing ethics• “You are the marketing manager for a small firm that makes kitchen appliances. While conducting field tests, you discover a design flaw in one of your best-selling ovens that could potentially cause harm to a small number of customers. However, a product recall is likely to bankrupt your company, leaving all of the employees (including you) jobless. What would you do?”
  • 14. CEO PR/Marketing ManagerCEO CustomerCEO Production Manager
  • 15. 
  • 16. explore ethical conceptsCEO Customer
  • 17. further implications• evaluation• preparationspontaneous side of improv theatre is overemphasized!
  • 18. further implications• teaching international groups- psychological barriers- physical demeanour- language- art is challenging – but it’s worth it!
  • 19. literature• Adler, N.J. (2008), ‘The art of global leadership: designing optionsworthy of choosing’, in Barry, D. and Hansen, H. (eds.), New Approaches inManagement and Organization, London: Sage, 95–96.• Aylesworth, A. (2008), ‘Improving Case Discussion With an Improv Mind-Set’, Journal of Marketing Education, Vol. 30, No. 2: 106–115.• Biehl, B. (2007), Business is Showbusiness. Wie Topmanager sich vorPublikum inszenieren. Frankfurt: Campus.• Goffman, E. (1959), The presentation of self in everyday life, London:Allen Lane.• Mangham, I.L. and Overington, M.A. (1987) Organizations as Theatre: ASocial Psychology of Dramatic Appearances. Chichester: Wiley.• Moshavi, D. (2001), ‘"Yes and...": Introducing Improvisational TheatreTechniques to the Management Classroom’, Journal of ManagementEducation, Vol. 25, No. 4: 437–449.• Weick, K. E. (1998), Improvisation as a mindset for organizationalanalysis, Organization Science, Vol. 9, No. 5: 543–555.
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