Food for thought: An exploratory study of the potentials of collaborative food preparation

Josefine Culmsee Pedersen

Studenteropgave: Kandidatafhandlinger


This thesis has explored how collaborative food preparation influences team dynamics and problem-solving capabilities of a team. A number of interviews were conducted to capture the essence of the collaborative food preparation experience and a comprehensive Five Dimension Framework emerged from the narratives. Additionally, an experiment was created where four teams of students were observed while solving a complex business case. During the process two teams participated in a session of collaborative food preparation the other two teams were considered control teams and did not participate in collaborative food preparation. An expert review group assessed the teams’ solutions which were presented in concise executive summaries. The research found that the collaborative food preparation experience had a positive influence on the food teams’ intra-team social atmosphere and intra-team attitudes, which was found to influence problem-solving capabilities positively. Moreover, indications emerged that the teams’ attitudes and general enthusiasm during the collaborative food preparation had an effect on the subsequent effects in terms of relational changes and team problem solving. The potentials of collaborative food preparation as a method have not been systematically and empirically explored before. The results are interesting not only in relation to the general massive public interest in food and gastronomy but also in an organizational context. Global structural and economic drivers combined with an increasing demand for meaning from Western consumers and employees force organizations and business leaders to think alternatively to obtain long-term competitive advantage. Crucial parts of the solution to accommodate the new framework conditions are organizational creativity and innovation (Austin & Devin, 2010; Christensen, 2007; Adler, 2006). Austin & Devin (2010) belong to a school of management academics who believe in aesthetic innovation as a future competitive capacity based on organizational strategic intangibles. Equally Adler (2006) is among the scholars who argue for the cross fertilization of arts and business. Artbased methods can help organizations strengthen intangible attributes which in the long run can lead to competitive advantage (Taylor & Ladkin, 2009). The research results of this thesis proved the same potentials in the food-based method of collaborative food preparation. Possibly delayed by the current financial crisis, it is the believe that what have been called organizational aesthetics or intangibles will come to play an increasing role in organizations’ race for competitive advantage. Hence, there will be an increasing demand in academia for empirical evidence and writing on the topic of strategic management of intangibles. This thesis project contributes on two levels. On the practical level, the Five Dimension Framework is a well-documented tool to understand, communicate, and design experiences around collaborative food preparation. Furthermore, empirical evidence was found regarding the use of collaborative food preparation as a method to strenghthen group problem solving capabilities. Thus, on the academic level, contributing to the discussion about organizational aesthetics and strategic intangibles.

UddannelserCand.soc.oie Organisational Innovation and Entrepreneurship , (Kandidatuddannelse) Afsluttende afhandling
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