The Arts: An Experience : What Leaders Can Learn From Artistic Catharsis
Abstract: Creativity and innovation are attributes that are important in business and leadership today, perhaps more than ever. The recent economic crisis has shown that relying on pre-established business patterns is not enough anymore. Art has always been visionary and creativity is one of its major characteristics. This thesis looks into the possible impact the arts can have on leadership. We ask ourselves what it is that we can learn from the arts, what they can teach us that is relevant for leaders and leadership. We have used the grounded theory and the methods suggested by Corbin and Strauss. We have conducted conversations with 12 leaders coming from different occupations who share at least one characteristic; they are all engaged in the arts. Through their experience, and through secondary data we used from studies concerning the impact the arts have on communities, we have constructed a theory. This shows that through their interaction with art, people are affected in their well-being, their personal development and their cognition. This phenomenon we have identified as the leader's catharsis. We conclude our work by showing a map to show where in leadership research our substantive theory is useful. Further we also discuss how our findings can contribute to future leadership research. Our thesis might contribute to the discussions of aesthetics and leadership, the influence art has on the well-being of followers and how leaders can effectively form frames. Further, we suggest that the arts can be seen as a school for leadership development.
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