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Tales of the Unexpected: Discussing Improvisational Learning

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Stewart Clegg


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Improvisation has been treated largely as if it were a conceptual monolith: all improvisations are similar. We challenge this theorizing by distinguishing forms of improvisation in organizations (semi-structured, episodic, subversive, resistive) and by exploring ways in which these forms interrelate in improvisational sequences. Improvisation is not just something individuals do; it is a learned capacity that organizations can manage. We introduce the dimension of improvisational formality and informality, adding a political dimension to the study of the topic. By combining forms in process sequences, we organize the existing literature under a systematic perspective facilitating theory development via an integrative understanding of how improvisation produces learning.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cunha MPe, Neves P, Clegg SR, Rego A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Management Learning

Year: 2014

Online publication date: 15/09/2014

ISSN (print): 1350-5076

ISSN (electronic): 1461-7307

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1177/1350507614549121


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