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Verse, voice and va va voom!: illuminating management processes through poetry

Louise Grisoni (Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK)
Philip Kirk (Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 1 April 2006




The purpose of this paper is to explore the power of using poetry as a process of critical reflection and organisational analysis in the management process. It intends to bring to life Armstrong's concepts of “organisation‐in‐the‐mind” and use critical role analysis in the interactions between manager and member of staff.


This is a qualitative, interpretive study using first and second person inquiry. Poems are created from the experiences of two organisational members in dialogue in relation to their roles and focus on specific decision‐making critical incidents within the life of the organisation. The creation of poetry is used as a form of communication and provides a focus for thematic analysis of key organisational themes and issues.


The creative use of poetry to illuminate unconscious processes and organisational issues has enabled revitalised working relationships and a new perspective on the organisational dynamic. The critical incidents and surrounding events caused considerable emotional discomfort. Writing in the form of poetry enabled a finding of voice, increased personal learning, and new insights in relation to roles, management processes of decision‐making and interpersonal dynamics in the organisation.

Research limitations/implications

This paper contributes to understanding the importance of unconscious processes in gaining an understanding of organisational dynamics and management processes. These processes are brought to light through the creation of poetry to sit alongside rational modes of understanding and analysis.


The approach is under‐developed and largely unrecognised in relation to management processes. Reflection and analysis through the use of poetry offers an important contribution to the work of organisational analysis.



Grisoni, L. and Kirk, P. (2006), "Verse, voice and va va voom!: illuminating management processes through poetry", Management Decision, Vol. 44 No. 4, pp. 512-525.



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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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