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A review of the theoretical foundations of research into arts-based interventions in organisations and management education, and their methodological implications

Kernan, M.A. (2014). A review of the theoretical foundations of research into arts-based interventions in organisations and management education, and their methodological implications. In: Carlucci, D. & Spender, J.C. (Eds.), Knowledge and Management Models for Sustainable Growth. International Forum on Knowledge Asset Dynamics, 9. (pp. 2222-2233). Matera, Italy: Arts for Business Institute, University of Basilicata.


This paper explores theoretical frameworks, drawn primarily from learning theory, which might inform future research into arts-based initiatives (ABIs) in organisations and HE, and both the analysis and of outcomes.
The theoretical insights considered here include pedagogical and philosophical models (eg Buber 1937/2002; Heron 1992; and Gardner 2006, 2011); psychological and management frameworks in self-efficacy, social cognition, socio-constructive approaches and complexity theory (eg Bandura 1997; Hutchins 1995; Kolb and Kolb 2010; Mowles et al. 2008); and models applied to research in the creative arts, including metaphor, aesthetic distancing,
embodiment, and threshold concepts (eg McGilchrist 2009; Pässilä and Vince 2012; Dreyfus 1996; Meyer and Land 2005).
In the conference presentation, we will also review some of the more populist ideas, including emotional intelligence, presence and mindfulness (Boyatzis and McKee 2005; Senge et al. 2005; Goleman et al. 2002), which have become established in leadership and management development practice, aiming to consider whether their application to the analysis of research results may offer benefits in the dissemination and interpretation of arts-based research for practitioners.
The paper concludes by considering potentially appropriate research methodologies and other recommendations for future research into ABIs, and by inviting debate and feedback.

The aim of this paper is to inform future research in arts-based practises in organisational and management development by exploring potentially fruitful theoretical starting points, and relating those to applicable research methodologies.

The approach adopted here is both interdisciplinary and research-focused. The paper considers theoretical insights from the work of philosophers, psychologists and educational theorists, and considers for each the research disciplines that might effectively be applied to future research into the processes and impacts of arts-based practices in management development and education. By doing so, the hope is to encourage the future development and implementation of ABIs by identifying both their personal and their organisational impacts.

Evidence for the impact of ABIs is needed if the potential organisational and educational benefits of this evolving interdisciplinary field are to be realised. The
theoretical toolkit that could be applied is of considerable intellectual breadth. The opportunity of this paper is to present, for debate, something of this breadth, to consider how these and other theoretical insights might inform research initiatives that will benefit management practitioners as well as scholars and educators, and to present the results of a pilot study.

Publication Type: Book Section
Publisher Keywords: Arts-based management, Arts-based innovation, Theory of arts in management, Research and arts-based management
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Media, Culture & Creative Industries > English, Publishing & Creative Writing
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