Improvisation and learning in organizations: reflections on the basis of the metaphor of improvisation in theater and music

Leonardo Flach, Claudia Simone Antonello


There are moments in organizations when immediate answers are required, involving improvisation. These occasions do not provide enough time for items such as planning, standardization and control. Thus, there is a demand for new theoretical models and practices to meet these organizational needs. This essay aims to identify and propose, starting from the metaphor of the arts, some ideas to help to understand the role of improvisation in learning processes in organizations. Thus, the following proposals are discussed: (a) time influences the process ofimprovisation; (b) improvisation works with bricolage; (c) improvisation starts from minimal structures; (d) pause and silence are also part of the process of improvisation; (e) improvisation may be individual or collective; (f) improvisation may be based on clichés and repetition or variation of themes; (g) error is part of improvisation; (h) improvisation in a group requires continuous dialogue and negotiation; (i) performance is essential in the act of improvisation.

Key words: improvisation, organizational learning, bricolage, metaphor.

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