Body of Leaders. How can creative practice research float the potential for new forms of leadership behaviour in organisations?

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In a sea of endless stories of organisational ethical scandals, many of which are attributed to β€˜failed leadership’ on the part of government, business, religious and community leaders, this PhD examines how creative practice research can be used as a way of inspiring – 𝘰𝘳 𝘴𝘢𝘨𝘨𝘦𝘴𝘡π˜ͺ𝘯𝘨 – new forms of leadership behaviour. In the processual nature of being in our lives, if experience is valued as primary to consciousness as a way of active belonging, then it is argued that creative writing – and here specifically, scriptwriting – is a powerful medium to examine organisational experiences, especially those where an erosion of trust has occurred. By deploying the lens of affect in embodied responses through the playscript 𝘞𝘰𝘳𝘬. π˜“π˜ͺ𝘧𝘦. π˜‰π˜’π˜­π˜’π˜―π˜€π˜¦., the PhD asks us to move beyond singular, scientific modes of cognitive analysis towards – through creative practice – the elevation of emergent data from our physical senses. Experimental artistic forms apprehend experiences as a whole that allows subjective meaning to emerge, and so this PhD seeks to complement knowledge that is gained through objective scientific methods that view the phenomenon of leadership through its constituent parts. With an aim of rendering a focus on emerging action that avoids the binary β€˜blame game’, the PhD positions creative writing as a practice that provides the necessary balance for science to work in harmony with art and craft. As harmony assumes variation, not sameness, experimentation with the language of leadership has made expanded meaning possible through this research. Further, a dramaturgical process in which knowledge and personal experience is translated into dramatic fiction, not dichotomously pitting fact against fiction, provides multiple ways of seeing and thinking about leadership. With events, stories and concepts structured as dramatic scenes and acts, new ways of considering organisational conflicts, motives, moods, backstories and places emerge. It is argued that this mode of research allows new thinking in organisational fields of leadership, business ethics, management development, organisational culture and change management, and contributes to the artistic-aesthetic realm of creative practice research more broadly.
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