Realising the potential of art-based interventions in managerial learning: Embodied cognition as an explanatory theory


Teachers and consultants increasingly use art-based interventions (ABIs) to facilitate manager learning. However, there is little understanding of the mechanisms through which ABIs produce learning outcomes of value to organizations. This theoretical paper addresses this concern by revisiting the philosophy of art and education in light of developments in neuroscience known as embodied cognition. Specifically, we examine the role played by simulations in behavioral change and the way in which ABIs can foster the creation of simulations. This leads to two propositions, a) representing a phenomenon through new simulations can create new possibilities for interacting with this phenomenon; and b) making art is a means by which managers can construct new simulations. The significance of these propositions is illustrated by re-interpreting three accounts of art-based interventions found in the literature. These propositions have important implications for the planning, implementation, and evaluation of ABIs in management education. In particular, they emphasize the need to match art medium with desired outcomes, provide support for the view that ABIs are well suited to learning about complex managerial challenges, and question the effectiveness of verbal reflection as part of ABIs.


Leadership, Management & Business


Journal of Business Research



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