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dc.contributor.authorMacPherson, Allan
dc.contributor.authorBreslin, Dermot
dc.contributor.authorAkinci, Cinla
dc.identifier.citationMacPherson , A , Breslin , D & Akinci , C 2021 , ' Organizational learning from hidden improvisation ' , Organization Studies , vol. OnlineFirst .
dc.identifier.otherPURE: 274948178
dc.identifier.otherPURE UUID: 32b286d3-8ff8-4a4a-ac01-3d2cbd6775af
dc.identifier.otherORCID: /0000-0001-9053-3967/work/98488057
dc.identifier.otherWOS: 000683931400001
dc.identifier.otherScopus: 85112212504
dc.description.abstractResearch has identified improvisation as a creative and open activity that can be harnessed to encourage innovation and learning within the organization. In this paper, we present improvisation as a covert phenomenon, occurring in a climate of mistrust and fear of censure, and disconnected with wider organizational learning. Drawing on qualitative evidence of a Fire Service in the United Kingdom, we explore hidden improvisation, and identify the conditions and processes that can connect these local deviations to wider processes of learning. We show that while most improvisations remain hidden and contained to avoid wider scrutiny, certain conditions of frequency, connectedness and scale escalate events to become more visible to supervisors and managers. The learning outcomes from these visible improvisations will then depend on management’s interpretation, evaluation and translation of improvising behaviours. Dependent on prior relationships of trust and credibility, middle management perform a key brokering role in this process, connecting previously hidden improvisation to wider organizational systems and structures.
dc.relation.ispartofOrganization Studiesen
dc.rightsCopyright © The Author(s) 2021. Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Lficense ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
dc.subjectCritical incidentsen
dc.subjectHigh reliability organizationen
dc.subjectOrganizational learningen
dc.subjectProcess studyen
dc.subjectHD28 Management. Industrial Managementen
dc.titleOrganizational learning from hidden improvisationen
dc.typeJournal articleen
dc.description.versionPublisher PDFen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.School of Managementen
dc.description.statusPeer revieweden

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