Exhibition accepted to the Arts & Management of Management and Organization (AoMO), Liverpool (UK) August 19-22 2021
Points of contact: A photographic exploration
Leadership is a complex task that sometimes is described as art rather than science. Taylor and Karanian (2008) point out that if we are to take seriously the idea that leadership is an art, we might also ask, what is the medium of the art of leadership? The authors suggest that, like the glass is the medium of the glassblower, connection is the medium that is worked in the craft of leadership (Taylor, 2020; Taylor & Karanian, 2008).
However, we seldom reflect on the nature of connection in itself. What does it mean to be in connection? How does it feel from inside? What does it look like? In this photographic research, contact improvisation is used to explore the nature of connection as one’s ability to embrace another “I”, while at the same time being in genuine contact with one’s own “I”.
Contact improvisation is a contemporary dance form in which two or more people are improvising around a point of contact. As the next move is never known in advance, the dancer can only mindfully experience the dance as it emerges, listening inwards and acting outwards at the same time. In this way, the dancers are participating in a shared co-creation while simultaneously dancing one’s own dance. The purpose of this photographic work is to share that experience with people who would not dance themselves.
Paper accepted for presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, August 7-11 2020, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Building on sensemaking theory and Erich Fromm’s distinction between the existential modes of having and being, this paper explores the process in which managers integrate spirituality into their working lives through a longitudinal, clinical research project. The being mode offers a way to bypass the grip of the habituated identity in the sensemaking process and thus, to open up for new ways of perceiving, interpreting and enacting cues in familiar situations. In this process, spirituality is allowed to be integrated into the evolving self at work. By articulating the role of mode of existence in the sensemaking process, this paper also contributes to the sensemaking perspective. The notion of being-based doing is developed as a way of talking about actions that stem from the being mode, including mindfulness, compassion and other states grounded in experience.
This Professional Development Workshop was given at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting (AOM) 2019 in Boston (MA), which is the world’s largest management conference. The experiential workshop invites you to explore dance as a mindfulness practice and to re-connect with your body and yourself. No previous experience is needed and everyone is welcome to join the inclusive space held by the facilitators. You could bring a water bottle and an extra T-shirt if you feel for it.
Mindfulness has lately been booming as a management practice as well as an interdisciplinary field of research. Kabat-Zinn (1994) suggests that “mindfulness practice means that we commit fully in each moment to being present. There is no ‘performance’. There is just this moment. We are not trying to improve or to get anywhere else. We are not even running after special insights or visions. Nor are we forcing ourselves to be non-judgmental, calm, or relaxed.” We usually think about mindfulness practice as silent sitting, but there is no limit to what activities we can bring mindful presence.
This workshop is a moment to fully turn your attention inwards as there is no choreography to remember and nothing to achieve. While we move our bodies to the rhythms of tunes from all over the world, we simply observe thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations from moment to moment without reacting and without judging.
The meditation begins with a warm-up that seamlessly guides you into a mindful dance. The meditation ends in stillness with an invitation to just witness what arise and pass away in the dance’s aftermath. Finally, there will be room for sharing experiences after the meditation.
Thanks to my co-facilitators who were part of the team: Catarina Ahlvik, Judi Neal, Jody Fry, and Ymke Kleissen.