Embodied work and leadership in a digital age -- what can we learn from theatres?
Organizational Aesthetics Cover Issue Vol. 6(1)



How to Cite

De PaoliD., RoysengS., & WennesG. (2017). Embodied work and leadership in a digital age -- what can we learn from theatres?. Organizational Aesthetics, 6(1), 99-115. Retrieved from https://oa.journals.publicknowledgeproject.org/index.php/oa/article/view/84


In this article, we seek inspiration from the performative theatre arts to better understand creative work and leadership in a digital age. Theatre artists work and lead creative processes toward theatre performances without any digital distractions. Theatres are a physical manifestation of art. The aesthetic and embodied creative work and leadership is essential for a play that engages and touches the audience. While theories and research about embodied leadership scarcely address digitalization or technology, research about digital and virtual leadership oversees the importance of embodied processes and leadership. Through insight acquired by interviewing theatre directors, we describe how these creative work and leadership processes are about developing and maintaining embodied, emotional and mental focus. We explain and analyse this phenomenon through a description and analysis of theatre art and theatre leadership, where we argue that theatre productions resemble many kinds of temporary creative projects in regular work organizations. Theatre directors lead people in a way that makes theatres one of the last frontiers of digitalization. We also explain what there is to learn from theatres in a digitalized work life, where smart phones, I-pads, PCies or other digital devices never are turned off.