Edgar Schein is author and former professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He has made substantial contributions to the fields of organizational development and organizational culture. For people interested in understanding how companies really work, Schein’s model of organizational culture developed in the 1980’s represents a major piece of the puzzle, and influenced generations of professionals dealing with organizational transformation and change – including ourselves. Less known but not less exciting, Ed Schein has also thought about the relevance of art to other elements of society like business or government, and why managers should learn about it.
Unternehmen quälen sich nicht ohne Grund mit der Frage nach der richtigen Form. Das klassische Modell der bürokratisch-hierarchischen Organisation scheint nicht recht zu passen zur Arbeit in Zeiten der Digitalisierung. Vor allem wenn es um die wichtigste Qualität eines wissensbasierten Unternehmens geht: seine Reaktionsfähigkeit. „Die ist notwendig, um in Zukunft in einer Welt zu bestehen, in der die Dynamik der Digitalisierung alle Unternehmen zu Softwarefirmen werden lässt und Effizienz durch zunehmende Automatisierung wohl bald an den Kollegen Roboter ausgelagert wird“, sagt Frank Klinkhammer, Gründer der Software-Beratungsfirma Netcentric.
The Harvard Business Review released last week a list of world’s best-performing chief executives. One statistical detail easy to overlook deserves particular attention beyond the ranking: Only 25% of the top 100 CEO’s have an MBA. So, clearly there must be something else that matters when it comes to leading for long-term performance and the triple bottom line. Already some years ago leading thinkers and education experts such as Sir Ken Robinson stated “The master of fine arts is the new master of business administration,” and supported his claim in saying “a study of the educational background of leaders in 652 engineering companies in Silicon Valley — you would expect that they had a background in science, engineering and mathematics, yet .
“Only one of the 10 best-performing CEOs in the world runs a U.S. company”, the Washington Post headlines last week, while pondering over the results of this years’ Harvard Business Review list of world’s best-performing chief executives that was released earlier that week. Eight of the top ten are CEOs of European companies and editor Jena McGregor notes “it’s the balance of sustainability measures with financial performance that explains why CEOs of U.S.-based companies are less represented at the top.” The reason why Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, who made it to the top previously, now moved down to #87 is because HBR changed the rules of the game.
Jason Beechey is a professional dancer and also rector of the Palucca University of Dance Dresden, a renowned institution for classical and contemporary dance, that exists for more than 90 years. And yet the word artist makes him a bit scared when describing his line of work: “My name is Jason, I was born and my passion is exploring the body in movement with music, the possibilities and to help other people discover their possibilities.
We met Paul-Henri Campbell upon recommendation by his associate, the painter Aris Kalaizis. Campbell is a bilingual writer of German and English. In his essays and poetry, he often deals with modern mythologies. He has written poetry about, for instance, the Firebird Trans Am, New Yorkˈs A-Train, the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk, and the Concorde. We talked on an autumnally cool but sunny afternoon at a café in Frankfurt.
We talked to him about how he came to literature and what it means for him …
“Literature is unique among the arts.
In summer 2014 we had one of those rare discussions at the sunny but drafty courtyard of Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB):1 The talk was chastening and stimulating at the same time. Professor Ariane Berthoin Antal has spent much of her time doing scientific work for artistic intervention in organizations. We talked about her research and people that build connections between business and art. We also talked about how fragile such connections can be and what happens if art is just used to stabilize the already existing organizational environment.
Painter Joern Grothkopp already decided to become an artist when he was quite young. Likewise small decisions that he has to take while painting a picture, this important step for him was about an inner certainty: “If you’re not aware of the result before and finally you get surprised by yourself – this is annexation of future and time. It gives you self-confidence as well as self-coordination within this huge context where you don’t know where you’re standing.
Fabian Lempa is Research Associate at Freie Universität Berlin and looks into the field of applied theatre interventions in and for companies. Applied theatre, he explains “means types of theatre that don’t usually occur in traditional theatre institutions, but rather find their way into social contexts in order to set in motion various and specific constructive processes of change.“ So when you think about a major or minor transformation in your organization applied theatre might be an option.