"Barry and Hansen have gathered an impressive array of contributors to speculate where the management and organization field might be headed. The Handbook offers refreshing and proactive insights that confront our assumptions about organizations and challenge us to expand our thinking and inquiry. It it must reading for anyone who seeks to understand how we look at, live in, and act on organizations."—Thomas G. Cummings, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern CaliforniaTen years ago critical theory and postmodernism were considered new and emerging theories in Business and Management. What will be the next new important theories to shape the field? In one edited volume, David Barry and Hans Hansen have commissioned new chapters that will allow readers to stay one step ahead of the latest thinking. Contributors draw on research and practice to introduce ideas that are considered 'fringe' and controversial today, but may be key theoretical contributions tomorrow. Each chapter sets these ideas in their historical context, lays out the key theoretical positions taken by each new approach and makes it clear why these approaches are different to more mainstream concepts. Throughout contributors refer to existing studies that show how these developing themes will change the Business and Management arena.Researchers, teachers and advanced students who are interested in the future of Business and Management scholarship will want to read this Handbook.
Chapter 66: Improvisation in Organizations
Improvisation in Organizations
The purpose of this chapter is to use the concept of improvisation to explore the managerial implications of fast-changing competitive environments. We argue that these environments are favorable to companies staffed by complex people improvising around an open organizational design. This design allows employees to bring improvisation to the core of their everyday work, increasing their organization's ability to adapt to changing markets and complex competitive conditions.
To make this point we start by contrasting the approaches to organizational design favored by stable competitive contexts with those favored by complex and dynamic contexts. Managers in stable environments design organizations to ensure employees' compliance with prescribed processes and goals. Managers in complex fast-changing environments provide design resources for employees to improvise local ...