The Arts

Arts in HRM firmly believes that:

In order for organisations to reach their potential, individuals and teams that make up each organisation should make the most of their capabilities at each given moment.

It goes without saying that each person’s best is something that is constantly changing and shifting (i.e. my best at the age of 20 is not the same as my best at the age of 30). In this light, organisations should attend to the needs of teams and provide individuals with the relevant training opportunities. In the long-term, this will enable members of the organisation to enhance and understand their potential and capabilities. Moreover, it will enable each individual to connect his personal life with the organisational life.

Another assumption that goes hand-in-hand with the previous one is:

It is for the best interest of the organisation to allow each member to function from a place of self-empowerment and to allow each member to empower everyone else along the way.

On the contrary, it is dysfunctional and non-productive to break personal or organisational power up instead of bringing it together towards a common goal.

What is the role that the arts can play into this?

 The arts as an experiment and a trial

It is commonplace in organisations to observe in organisational behavior and culture the dictum – punish wrong actions and reward correct behavior. The trap here is that the truly experiential road towards knowledge and wisdom is mainly through “trial and error”. There are no golden rules where experience and behavior are concerned. In order for someone to master a certain behavior, emotion, soft skill or the like, it is important that one directly tests several behaviors into different context. But all these in practice!

The arts have the potential to provide the necessary tools so that one can test behaviors and their results (e.g. through the use of the infamous role plays). This testing can be done in a safe context (not on the job interacting with clients) and avoids hanging on to a behavior which is acceptable by the organisation even though it is counter-productive. Arts can provide the ground that will enable the shifting attitudes, behavioral patterns and allows for experimentation.

Arts as a metaphor for the way we collaborate

The way the members of a team collaborate can be used as a focal point for training. The roles each member plays within a team or sub-team, can be investigated while preparing something “artistic” together – a story, a piece of art, playing out an improvisation or playing a game which promotes trust.

Arts as a way of investigating what lies beyond logic

We can start feeling uncomfortable when we are reminded of the fact that there might be something which lies beyond logic and the illusion of being able to control everything. It is sometimes sufficient to look at current studies to understand that reality is more complex than cause and effect. For example, there are many studies on how managers and high-ranked officials depend on gut feeling and intuition to make decisions. And they believe that these decision-making mechanisms have been proved right.

Of course, one cannot underestimate the importance of emotional intelligence, which only recently has seen the light of organizational studies.

We should also pay special attention to tacit knowledge, a concept which brings forth the knowledge of an individual which differentiates him/her from another but it is impossible to be made explicit (or put into words) and copied. Nonaka and first mentioned this kind of knowledge in 1995. We can only briefly suggest here that a portion of this knowledge can be made explicit by means of the arts and by the dedication of people in the learning or training process.

Arts and the Arts in HRM approach

For all the aforementioned reasons, Arts in HRM has set as its mission to enhance and develop creativity and awareness by using tools derived from the arts. Examples of such tools are:

  • Role plays
  • Theatrical games and exercises
  • Writing narratives and stories
  • Constructing pieces of art in groups.

These seminars and indoor experiential workshops are organised by the responsible personnel of each company in unison with the organizational consultants and are a derivative of the population of the team. Suggestive themes for working in teams are the following:

  • Team-building and team-bonding
  • Collective and individual creativity
  • Facing Crises and Handling Conflict
  • Change Management
  • Leadership
  • Self-empowerment, initiatives and choice.

These themes can be adapted in the framework and context of each workplace and be customised after the appropriate in-house operations research that takes place by the consultants so that the needs of each organisation are met. Training programmes can be co-funded by LAEK 0,45 when within Greece.

The picture below is from a training in Limassol, Cyprus from a training on a project for Empowering Youth Participation in EU funded by Youth in Action.