1st Edition

The Routledge Companion to Improvisation in Organizations

    536 Pages 37 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This innovative volume provides a comprehensive overview of improvisation as a pervasive organizational process, essential in ever-changing business environments.

    Exploring theories of organizational action as well as contemporary challenges, it highlights improvisation’s rich potential in theory building and practice. The value and relevance of improvisational capabilities and processes in organizations are more apparent than ever: the global pandemic has forced organizations to reinvent themselves and to adapt to dramatic change on a massive scale. This surge in improvised activity starkly illustrates how the capability to improvise is key to organizational resilience: organizations that are able to improvise effectively are better prepared to bounce back and even thrive.

    From the latest thinking on improvisation in organizations to future avenues for research, this volume demonstrates the rich potential for both theory building and practice and provides a valuable resource for researchers and advanced students in organizational strategy, entrepreneurship, product development, information systems, disaster management, and HRM.

    Introduction - Improvisation in organizations: A convocation, a celebration and an invitation Anne S. Miner, António Cunha Meneses Abrantes, Dusya Vera, and Miguel Pina e Cunha

    Part 1. Conceptual linkages

    1. Improvisation and bricolage: Similarities and differences between two approaches to resource scarcity

    Ricardo Coelho da Silva, Leid Zejnilovic, and Pedro Oliveira

    2. Eight paradoxical tensions of organizational improvisation

    Miguel Pina e Cunha, Medhanie Gaim, and Stewart Clegg

    3. The Importance of referents for advancing improvisation theory and methods

    Jay O’Toole, Indria Handoko, and Hendro A. Tjaturpriono

    4. The improvisation-serendipity nexus

    Miguel Pina e Cunha and Marco Berti

    Part 2. Improvisation process: Before, during and after

    5. The improvisational arc: A sensemaking perspective

    António Cunha Meneses Abrantes and Olivier Berthod

    6. Preparing to be spontaneous for effective organizational improvisation

    Ace V. Simpson and Stewart Clegg

    7. Character and improvisation: A recursive relationship

    Corey Crossan, Mary Crossan, and Cassie Ellis

    8. Improvisational decision making: Context, antecedents, and outcomes

    Dusya Vera, Pooya Tabesh, Susana Velez-Castrillon, Ariff Kachra, and Steve Werner

    9. Improvisation, routine dynamics, and temporal regularity

    Kenneth T. Goh and Claus Rerup

    10. Practising strategizing: Novelty as a leap of faith expanding learning and improvising

    Elena P. Antonacopoulou

    Part 3. Improvisation in specific contexts

    11. Improvisation in Africa

    Emanuel Gomes

    12. Locating improvisation in public service management: Past, present, and future research directions

    Ian R. Hodgkinson and Paul Hughes

    13. Organizational improvisation in project management

    Stephen A. Leybourne

    14. Professional service firms: Why is improvisation so important?

    Muriel Faden

    15. Team leadership, momentum, and improvisation in extreme contexts

    Bjarke Aage and Stefan Meisiek

    16. Managing improvisation in dispersed settings

    Massimo Magni and Likoebe Maruping

    Part 4. Improvisational theater beyond metaphor

    17. Improvisation as a design for organizational emergence

    Lukas Zenk, Ralf Wetzel, and Markus F. Pesch

    18. Improvisational theater in organizations: Between company expectations and effects on individuals and teams

    Cynthia Zabel and René Mauer

    19. Theatrical improvisation for organizational improvisation education

    Eduardo P. B. Davel and Fernanda P. M. Barbosa

    Part 5. Improvisation and new organizational forms

    20. Improvising around and about boundaries in open organizations

    Antonio Daood and Luca Giustiniano

    21. Agility and improvisation

    Allègre L. Hadida and Nathan O. Odiase

    22. Flow with the go: Real-time continuous improvisation in digital business ecosystems

    Pernille Rydén and Omar A. El Sawy

    23. Advancing improvisation within entrepreneurship research

    Michael P. Ciuchta, Lani Faith Gacula, and Cintya Gajardo-Vejar

    Part 6. Conceptual expansions and conclusions

    24. Improvisation: A taste of chaos in the middle of order and a taste of order in the middle of chaos

    Pedro Marques-Quinteiro and Rita Rueff-Lopes

    25. Strategic improvisation in loosely coupled systems

    Victor Meyer Jr. and Diórgenes Falcão Mamédio

    26. Improvisation in organizations: A review with a phenomenological research agenda

    Demetris Hadjimichael

    27. Why ever stop improvising? Why endings matter for theory and practice

    Anne S. Miner and Jay O’Toole

    Epilogue - Improvisation in organizations: Looking ahead

    Dusya Vera, António Cunha Meneses Abrantes, Anne S. Miner, and Miguel Pina e Cunha


    Miguel Pina e Cunha is the Fundação Amélia de Mello Professor at Nova School of Business and Economics, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal.

    Dusya Vera is a Professor of Strategy, the Ian O. Ihnatowycz Chair in Leadership, and the Executive Director of the Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute for Leadership at the Ivey Business School at Western University, Canada.

    António Cunha Meneses Abrantes is an Associate Professor at TBS Business School, France. He is also Chair of the Team Performance Management track of EURAM.

    Anne Miner is a Professor Emerita at the University of Wisconsin, USA.

    "A stunning consolidation of significant work on Organizational Improvisation. This is the definitive discussion that positions improvisation as a foundation for organization studies and practices. The book models the ways in which a deeper analysis of adaptive improvisational coping can unfold.” Karl Weick, Ross School of Business and University of Michigan, USA.