Details on article

Id 918
Author Descubes I., McNamara T.
Title Theatre-based learning to foster corporate legacy change

Descubes I., McNamara T.; Theatre-based learning to foster corporate legacy change ;Journal of Organizational Change Management vol:28.0 issue: 4.0 page:565.0

Keywords New public management; Organizational change; Practice-based innovation; Theatre-based learning techniques
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Abstract Purpose–The purpose of this paper is to explore post-Bolian reflexive theatre-based learning (TBL) theory and practice, in conjunction with meta-language and learning from experiences to address the gaps and silos between top-level macro strategy planning and operational micro-management on-going challenges in a contemporary new public management (NPM) major organizational change context. Design/methodology/approach–An investigation was carried out over three months at a major French utility in a praxis-related action research context (PRAR). TBL formats, i.e. “improvisational wrestling” and “improvisational cabaret”, were adapted and put into practice. Findings–A reflective process in which participants developed an enhanced sense of ownership and interest in the targeted organizational structure was developed. It allowed for collectively created contextual in-house knowledge, innovative practices and tools that supported the change initiative. Research limitations/implications–The main limitation of this research is that it is case-based, restricting the generalizability of its findings. Future research could examine the general validity of improvisational TBL forms and the way they can contribute to the creation of participatory innovation oriented corporate cultures. Also, an interesting research question would be to investigate how organizations, once having undertaken NPM initiatives, can continue nurturing a collaborative practice-based organizational culture over the long-haul, showing a clear need for longitudinal studies. Practical implications–The present initiative and case study was deemed as successful by all stakeholders, and the programme of engaged change management sustainable and self-reinforcing. Originality/value–This study extends the knowledge of the role of arts in enhancing organizational reflection. To the best of the knowledge, the TBL formats employed have never been used previously in PRAR. The paper builds links between organizational management, knowledge creation and micro-level organizational innovation. It fills a research gap concerning the content and the practices enabling innovation processes. Last but not the least, this study builds an actionable and replicable (yet not generalizable) framework based on reflexive theatre techniques as a novel learning approach in knowledge production in public sector enterprises undergoing a major organizational change. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


DOI 10.1108/JOCM-11-2013-0232
Search Database SC (Scopus)
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