THE USE OF THE ARTS IN MANAGEMENT TRAINING. IMPROVISATION, HUMOUR AND INTERPERSONAL SKILLS
Universidad de Valladolid (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN10 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Conventional techniques, underpinned by logic and rationality, have traditionally dominated management research and teaching, but do not seem the most suited to deal with the current turbulent times and are giving way to others based on Arts. Intuition, feeling, improvisation or imagination, aspects linked to individuals’ cognitive profile, are now coming to the fore. Arts have been and are currently being used in a variety of ways to contribute to developing business management experience, both in terms of content as well as skills. There are even those who go as far as to suggest that this forms part of a wider-ranging coming together between the world of business and the world of Arts. Areas such as music, literature or theatre have been used in management development. With regard to the latter, a wide range of programmes have been applied (such as improvisational theatre, humour based performances, and so on). We are therefore by no means dealing with a new phenomenon, although perhaps it is one which has not been employed to a great extent in business management teaching at universities in our country.
Theatre affords an opportunity to encourage learning and development in management. Theatre allows for the use of a range of techniques such as improvisation, voice and body control or staging, which stimulate interactive and participative learning. Applying such techniques may prove more complicated than applying conventional techniques and lead to certain reluctance when participants feel that they may lack talent, which brings us back to the issue of individuals’ cognitive profile. It has been highlighted, however, that use thereof does enhance creativity, an entrepreneurial thinking, teamwork, trust, interpersonal communication, learning or transfer of skills.
With a view to applying arts based techniques (particularly theatre) for the training and learning of future managers, a group of teachers at the University of Valladolid has set up a teaching innovation group whose activities commenced in the 2009-2010 academic year. The group is made up of university teachers from firms’ organisation, psychology and the teaching of body language at our university. Within this context, in March 2010 a workshop entitled “Further your communication, improvisation and sense of humour skills. This is your chance!” was held to provide students with a knowledge of management skills and how to develop them, focusing particularly on interpersonal skills. The workshop sought to foster the strengths (creativity, enhanced communication and interpersonal relations, trust or teamwork) which the extant literature highlights as emerging from the use of Arts in management training. To pinpoint possible reluctance, we addressed the issue of participants’ cognitive profile, bearing in mind that such profile refers to individual qualities as a whole related to the various ways in which subjects think and act.
To assess the impact which use of Arts, and particularly certain theatre techniques, may have on training and the acquisition of business management students’ interpersonal skills as well as their level of trust, we drew up a questionnaire to assess the workshop. The questionnaire was filled in by participants in the workshop when it had concluded. Based on the responses we will present the main findings and conclusions to emerge.
Keywords: management training, arts, improvisation, humour, interpersonal skills.