Poetry in the boardroom: thinking beyond the facts

Ted Buswick (Director of publications, The Strategy Institute of The Boston Consulting Group. He is currently involved in the growing arts‐in‐business movement, including participation in a MetLife Forum in New York City on initiating creativity in business through arts‐based training, and is a guest editor for a forthcoming special issue of the Journal of Business Strategy on the appropriate role for the arts in business.)
Clare Morgan (Clare Morgan has been Tutor in English and Creative Writing at the University of Oxford since 1995, where she is now Director of the undergraduate program in Creative Writing, based at Kellogg College. She has published a novel, a collection of stories, poems, and numerous critical articles, including regular reviews for the Times Literary Supplement)
Kirsten Lange (Vice president in the Munich office of The Boston Consulting Group and a member of the Industrial Goods and Corporate Development practices. She has directed projects in strategy, post‐merger integration, operational improvements, and organizational effectiveness in many different industries.)

Journal of Business Strategy

ISSN: 0275-6668

Publication date: 1 February 2005



To convey the findings of an investigation into the relationship between poetry and business thinking, which began with the hypothesis that regular reading and analysis of poetry and its levels of meaning, subtle verbal and nonverbal contextual nuances, emotional content, and required associative thinking will help people deal with ambiguity, delay closure on decisions, and result in more systemic thinking and in better business decisions.


The research and workshops indicate that reading poetry can expand thinking space by enhancing associative thinking and access to preconceptual areas.

Research limitation/implications

The findings are based on extensive interdisciplinary research and a small number of seminars and workshops. No formal studies have yet been conducted.

Practical implications

This provides a way to open thinking spaces that may be often unused by the business strategist, and that can lead to better decisions. By focusing on how executives can refine their thinking abilities to take them beyond the ordinary limits of cause‐and‐effect approaches, encourages the application of those radical judgments that can help differentiate one organization from another.


The authors believe they are the first to explore this relationship between reading poetry and business thinking.



Ted Buswick, Clare Morgan and Kirsten Lange (2005) "Poetry in the boardroom: thinking beyond the facts ", Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 26 No. 1, pp. 34-40

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: https://doi.org/10.1108/02756660510575032



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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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