2015 | 4 | 163-172
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Finding Form: Gestalt Theory as a Development of Aesthetic Approaches to Organisation and Management

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Gestalt theory has a promising potential in the area of management studies and prac-tice when it continues its hidden heritage that relates to aesthetics and atmospheres in the workplace and organisational culture. With an aestheticization of the economy, organisational research has acknowledged the importance of aesthetic, sensually per-ceivable elements in the workplace. Gestalt theory, given its pedigree in early organisa-tional research, lends itself to theory-building in this area and can also contribute practi-cally through so-called arts-based interventions. Arts-based interventions bring people, products and processes from the world of arts into organisations, applying a range of formative methods (in the sense of gestaltende Methoden). Methods like sculpturing and painting in these interventions for example help organisational members in “finding a form” and giving a Gestalt to experiences and atmospheres in the workplace that relate to teamwork, leadership and organisational culture and that can then be addressed, chal-lenged and developed. From a Gestalt theory perspective, organisations can be per-ceived as “gestalten,” and consequentially, it seems useful to encourage organisational members to “give form” to the ways in which they perceive organisational life. Sculp-ture as a tool in this context is briefly discussed with an example. This leads to a sug-gestion of a more diverse application of Gestalt theory in the field of management.
  • BSP Business School Berlin, BSP Business School Berlin—Hochschule für Management Villa Siemens, Calandrellistraße 1-9, D-12247 Berlin; Germany
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