The Orchestra as a Laboratory: Generative Organizing for Performance and Learning

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


Orchestras and other performing arts organizations exist to deliver superior performance of artistic and cultural works. While performing arts organizations often serve as analytical templates to understand collective learning, creativity, and innovation, performance is not always concerted with learning in these and other organizations. Zooming in on a critical case of a performance arts’ organization–an orchestra-cum-laboratory–our study seeks to advance understanding of generative forms of organizing for individual and organizational learning and creativity. Unlike traditional orchestras for which performance is an end and rehearsing a means, for the orchestra-cum-laboratory rehearsing is an end in itself, satisfying musicians’ drives to learn and create. We are interested to advance understanding of why and how a creative collective operates as a learning-driven performance arts organization, and to what consequences. A strategy of in-betweenness, namely organizing in between an orchestra and a laboratory, is adopted to find balance between learning and performing. Yet, in-betweenness is not without its tensions. Our study demonstrates how orchestra members’ growth needs lead them to organize as a laboratory, and subsequently how this implies “in-betweenness” both as a strategic choice and as a number of tensions/unintended consequences. We conclude with implications for entrepreneurial, creative, and generative organizations.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event77th Annual meeting of the Academy of Management: At the Interface - Georgia, Atlanta, United States
Duration: 4 Aug 20178 Aug 2017
Conference number: 77


Conference77th Annual meeting of the Academy of Management
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • Learning
  • Performance
  • Performing arts

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