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Beyond Hope and Fear: The Effects of Organizational Theatre on Empowerment and Control

Organizational theatre interventions have become established as a pervasive and influential arts-based method of dialogic organizational development, yet their effects are controversial and contested. While they have been praised for their potential as a tool of empowerment, they have also been criticized for their possible use as a more or less insidious form of control. This article explores and evaluates such claims and counterclaims, supported by an in-depth longitudinal quasi-experimental field study of customer service staff in a regional Australian bank. The results of the field study not only indicate that organizational theatre interventions may increase both empowerment and control but also suggest that the outcomes may be more lightweight than supporters have hoped and critics have feared. The article outlines the implications of these findings for future research and practice.

Happiness and how to get it - a short video of Dan Gilbert.

This is a neat little TED talk that highlights, once again, that we do not necessarily know ourselves as well as we might think. From a psychodramatic point of view the talk reminds one that warm-up is more important than having stuff. A warm-up that leads to feeling satisfied beats having everything, or a warm-up to perfectionism or a warm-up to wanting more. And other minor things such as 'having' is very different from 'being'.

Reproducing results - and considerations of warm-up.

Another perspective

The concept of 'warm-up'. It was listening to a range of such tests (that were recently redone without effects being noted) some years ago that led me to consider further, the area of warm-up. The notion of a fluid propensity in people that is able to be effected by a wide range of factors that are not controlled for in psychological experiments is one that is obvious to me. I think, because of the use of psychodrama and drama in groups, I notice how small things may create big effects. It's similar in other group settings as well, but seems exaggerated when using a dramatic process. When I notice such effects in a small group setting I wonder what happens in the larger world settings of psychological experiments. As simple as asking two questions in a different order. "How are you feeling? How old are you?" as against asking it "How old are you? How are you feeling",

Have a read of this article on how difficultit was to reproduce some of those tricky psychological experiments.

"One of the central goals in any scientific endeavor is to understand causality. Experiments that seek to demonstrate a cause/effect relation most often manipulate the postulated causal factor. Aarts et al. describe the replication of 100 experiments reported in papers published in 2008 in three high-ranking psychology journals. Assessing whether the replication and the original experiment yielded the same result according to several criteria, they find that about one-third to one-half of the original findings were also observed in the replication study."

Cheers for the moment.

The power of vulnerability - Brene Brown

In these poignant talks Brene Brown shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. This is a great talk about how a person may, with complete integrity, avoid difficult issues that hamstrong them and those around them. A great talk and worth the time invested. The second video includes a short animated clip with her voice-over about entering other people's world in order to create connection and be real in relationship.

Empathy - the capacity to enter another's world

This type of empathy is often presented as a solution. However it is not a solution it simply is. It is us getting with others while being vulnerable. In psychodrama it is a type of doubling through our capacity to reverse roles with them. Entering into another’s dark spaces, join them in their bear-cave, is a true form of love.


Listening to Shame - Brene Brown - A short video

Brene Brown does it again talking about her vulnerability and the value of shame. She refers to the quote below which strongly reminds me of Moreno's idea of us being bold existentialists, people who boldly stand out, or stand forth.

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”  Theodore Roosevelt

Psychodrama: The bare bones

This chapter starts with a concise overview of psychodrama that I have called the basics. Within the basics I present the five instruments of psychodrama, the three phases of a typical psychodrama sessions, the seven main techniques from which so many others are derived, and finally the operating principles for using these basics. Then follows a short section on a limited range of psychodrama philosophy that informs and influences the principles, and the unfolding of the sessions where it might be used. Finally, I give three case examples of using these methods – the practice component.

Alain de Botton

This is a great short, super short, video from a mob called the School of Life where Alain de Botton features prominently. As I ran a workshop series called 'Happiness' I am miffed that I didn't have this to use back then.

Dan Ariely - Applying the concept of warm-up to psychological research on lying

Dan Ariely has a number of great TED talks and we have some of them here. The article here is a brief radio interview on NPR, USA public radio, where he discusses some of his experiments with regards to lying. The main interest for us, or me at least, is not so much the remarkable creativity he has displayed to catch everyday people being a ‘bit’ crooked, but how the psychodramatic concept of warm-up would enrich his theorizing. I have also added a couple of his papers for those who like to read. His talk on What makes us feel good at work may be found by clicking here; his talk on Intuition and how wrong it may be can be found by clicking here.