Date of Graduation
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
School of Education
Organization & Leadership EdD
Leadership development is immersed in a philosophical struggle. Past efforts at developing leaders have missed a set of skills important to the role of today’s leaders. Since Frederick Taylor invented the practice of scientific management, the study of management and leadership has largely focused on traits, practices, and behaviors that conform to this model such as planning, analysis, control, and monitoring. Missing in this focus, however, are less transactional leadership skills like intuition, improvisation, and creativity. As a result, organizations have begun drawing on improvisational theater skills as one answer to fill this leadership development gap.
This case study focuses on a single cohort group attending an introductory level of training at an improvisational theater. Based on observations and interviews, the relevance of the content is analyzed and compared to selected leadership theories and the pedagogy is evaluated for underlying philosophies and critical curriculum design components. By observing the student experience with this learning, the applicability of improv theater arts to personal and professional lives outside of the theater context is also explored.
Further research should focus on the efficacy of improvisational theater skills in a professional setting and on additional comparisons between the skills taught in an improv curriculum and leadership theories.
Skalican, Jack, "Improvisation and Leadership Development: Understanding Improvisational Theater Arts as Leadership Skills" (2018). Doctoral Dissertations. 435.