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Measuring the improvisation process : how to quantitatively measure the quality of improvisation processes in a theatrical simulation environment

Eerde, T. van (2013) Measuring the improvisation process : how to quantitatively measure the quality of improvisation processes in a theatrical simulation environment.

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Abstract:In the last three decades the field of organizational improvisation was established in an effort to provide scientific insights into this phenomenon. Organizational improvisation can be shortly described as: “The convergence in time of planning for and execution of an action”. First generation research into this topic was performed by making comparisons between the business environment and areas where improvisation was part of the routine, such as playing Jazz music or theatre. Second generation research started to take the concept of organizational improvisation into the business environment in order to establish how improvisation works in different environments. Research on the relation between organizational improvisation and leadership was performed in 2010 by Gijs van Bilsen MSc. In this research he uses the method of theatrical simulation to establish how new product development teams (NPD-teams) work. The aim is to establish what the effect is of a directive; servant or rotating style of leadership on the improvisation process quality as well as improvisation product quality in such a team. The quality of a scene was determined by making use of a few judges who use their knowledge and expertise in order to ascertain the product and process quality of these scenes. The aim of this thesis is to develop a more objective way of judging these scenes. This leads to a more reliable (judgment parameters are clear) and comparable (the judges’ influence is taken out) method of deriving the scene quality. In this thesis the developed method is only applicable to the process quality of the scenes; determining product quality is not part of this thesis. In order to create a starting point for developing a method, indicators of the improvisation process quality were described based upon scientific literature. One of these indicators is the occurrence of ‘Yes, anding’. When actors in a scene interact with each other in theatrical improvisation they make offers to each other, an actor in the group then uses such offers to extend the scene and develop new situations. This practice of using an offer to extend the scene is usually visible in an actor replying “Yes, and” (or something similar) to another actor who has just made such an offer. In theory it is supposed the practice of ‘Yes, anding’ leads to a high improvisation process quality. This means it is possible to count the number of accepted offers in a scene in order to derive the quality of the improvisation process. In order to validate the occurrence of ‘Yes, anding’ as an indicator of the improvisation process quality a method was developed which consist of a manual which describes what ‘Yes, anding’ is; and how it should be counted in theatrically improvised scenes. This manual was used to count the scenes recorded for the research by Gijs van Bilsen, and compared to the subjective judgment provided for the same scenes earlier. This comparison showed some similarity to the subjective judgment; however not significant. The major problem with the method lies in its reliability, because the manual was susceptible to interpretation which leads to a strong variation in objective judgment among different judges. This problem was attempted to be solved by making a new manual which contained a more narrow definition of what is allowed to, and what is not allowed to be counted when someone is asked to count the number of ‘Yes, ands’ in a scene. This improved the reliability, but the validity was weakened.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration BSc (56834)
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