I donít know much about choreography, but Iíve been having some ideas about the challenges of the design/enactment of organizational structures. I think of design from Visserís (2006) conception that design can be understood as creating representations. For organizations the question is both what are you trying to represent and how do you represent that? As a playwright I design a performance by writing a script. The words (and stage directions) are a representation of the performance, but as we all know there are many different performances that might emerge from the same script. As a playwright I canít represent the performance completely (in the way that an industrial designer can completely represent a product she designs) and this is the fundamental problem of organizational design. I can design and represent some things with the hope that what emerges will be what I want, but I canít eliminate the variability and emergent aspects of organizations (even though some try Ė great grand pappy Frederick comes to mind). The traditional org chart represents dyadic authority relationships, perhaps because that is something you can specify and design. My industrial engineering colleagues design and represent material work processes. The language action folks (White & Fischer, 1994; Winograd & Flores, 1986) had the interesting idea that you could represent organizations in terms of a specific and limited set ofspeech acts that defined commitments people made as they coordinated action. My IT friends represent and design information structures. So, I would say that all organization design picks something (some organizational structure?) torepresent with the hope that defining that something will produce an emergent organization that is more or less what they had in mind. And just in case youíre still reading, Iíll finish with a shameless plug Ė Iíd love to see work on this submitted to Organizational Aesthetics (www.organizationalaesthetics.org<http://www.organizationalaesthetics.org>).
Visser, Willemien. (2006). The cognitive artifacts of designing. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
White, Thomas E., & Fischer, Layna. (1994). The workflow paradigm. California: Future Strategies, Inc.
Winograd, Terry, & Flores, Fernando. (1986). Understanding computers and cognition. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing.
Steven S. Taylor, PhD
From: Stephen Carroll <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>
Reply-To: Stephen Carroll <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>
Date: Sunday, April 22, 2012 1:52 PM
To: ACORN <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>
Subject: Re: choreography and dynamic structures
Just got around to reading your e mail today.
I must admit that I know very little about dance even though I have observed ballet and modern dance events many times. In my discussions of persuasive leaders in executive training, I have mentioned the importance of their body movements and have used some examples of leaders in film clips who had such very engaging movements.
By the way, I believe that choreography is also used as a term in the design of computer interactive systems to map out the interactions required of sellers, buyers, and other interacting entities. As in dance they have developed a notation system that communicates the sequence of steps that have to be followed and the nature of these interactions.I'm sure somebody on this site knows a lot more than I do about this.
My impression of a choregrapher is one who creates dance events using creative dance movements for dancers in a dance company which he or she might have created. It seems to me that this is just another type of management and organizational building activity. An organization must be created with a mission related to producing performances which are marketed and which present the creative artistic productions. As in any organization disparate elements must be coordinated and/or integrated- movements, music, scenery, lighting,etc. In doing this many problems occur as they do in all organizations- e.g. the individual performers do not have suficient skills to implement the creative designs -(I have seen student dancers fall in university productions- I have seen musical problems and inadequacies)
With respect to the unique possible contribution of choreography to organizational design I would guess that there are special insights and techniques in choreography which could possibly correct or alleviate some present weaknesses or deficiencies in organizational design and operations. However, given my ignorance of dance, I would not know what these are.I'm sure other AACORN members would have some insights into what some of these might be.
Stephen (Steve) Carroll
Maryland Business School
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