Title: Improvisation within management: oxymoron, paradox, or legitimate way of achieving?

Authors: Stephen A. Leybourne

Addresses: Plymouth Business School, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA, UK

Abstract: This paper considers the evolving literature on Organisational Improvisation, considering a number of different perspectives relating to its use and acceptance within a typology of modern management styles. Cunha et al.|s (1999) work is identified as a starting point, and particular attention is given to the gradual integration of improvisational working styles into the lexicon of management theory. The nature of improvisation, and its contradictory stance when considered against the understood notions of managerial control, is examined. Attention is then directed at the use and acceptance of improvisational working practices in the domain of that contemporary flexible organisation. The evidence presented here supports the oxymoronic and paradoxical nature of organisational improvisation, and offers the view that it is a valid and useful addition to the lexicon of management skills in the turbulent and fast-changing environment that persists in the first decade of the 21st century.

Keywords: organisational improvisation; flexibility; working styles; control; change; intuition; bricolage; management styles.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMCP.2007.014998

International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy, 2007 Vol.2 No.3, pp.224 - 239

Published online: 30 Aug 2007 *

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