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The Experience of Improvising in Organizations: A Creative Process Perspective

Fisher, CM; Barrett, FJ; (2018) The Experience of Improvising in Organizations: A Creative Process Perspective. Academy of Management Perspectives 10.5465/amp.2017.0100. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

In this paper, we explore how improvisation is experienced by people in organizations, conceptualizing improvisation as a creative process. We draw on a small number of scholarly accounts of the experience of improvising in organizations, and compare and contrast them with accounts from the performing arts. In both cases, improvising evokes simultaneous exhilaration and fear, as well as experiences of non-goal-directed action. In many organizational contexts, however, improvisation is normatively discouraged, which heightens the fearful aspect of the experience. This leads many workers to avoid improvising, using it as a method of last resort and even hiding its use. Thus, improvisation is seldom used in favorable circumstances nor practiced to the point of familiarity or expertise. We discuss the implications of these insights for research and practice of improvisation and creativity in organizations, and propose a research agenda for the experience of improvising in organizations.

Type: Article
Title: The Experience of Improvising in Organizations: A Creative Process Perspective
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.5465/amp.2017.0100
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.5465/amp.2017.0100
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Improvisation, subjective experience, creative process, creativity
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > UCL School of Management
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10058539
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