Towards a Theory of Organizational Improvisation: Looking Beyond the Jazz Metaphor

29 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2004

See all articles by Ken Kamoche

Ken Kamoche

City University of Hong Kong (CityUHK) - Department of Management Sciences

Miguel Pina e Cunha

New University of Lisbon - Nova School of Business and Economics

João Vieira da Cunha

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Abstract

This paper calls for research on organizational improvisation to go beyond the currently dominant jazz metaphor in theory development. We recognize the important contribution that jazz improvisation has made and will no doubt continue to make in understanding the nature and complexity of organizational improvisation. This article therefore presents some key lessons from the jazz metaphor and then proceeds to identify the possible dangers of building scientific inquiry upon a single metaphor. We then present three alternative models - Indian music, music therapy and role theory. We explore their nature and seek to identify ways in which the insights they generate complement those from jazz. This leads us to a better understanding of the challenges of building a theory of organizational improvisation.

Suggested Citation

Kamoche, Ken and Cunha, Miguel Pina e and Vieira da Cunha, João, Towards a Theory of Organizational Improvisation: Looking Beyond the Jazz Metaphor. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=467752

Ken Kamoche (Contact Author)

City University of Hong Kong (CityUHK) - Department of Management Sciences ( email )

Tat Chee Avenue
Kowloon Tong
Kowloon
Hong Kong

Miguel Pina e Cunha

New University of Lisbon - Nova School of Business and Economics ( email )

Campus de Campolide
Lisbon, 1099-032
Portugal

João Vieira da Cunha

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

100 Main Street
E62-416
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-2659 (Phone)

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