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An evaluation of performance arts in generating business value

Tracy Harwood (Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK)
Sophy Smith (Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK)

Arts and the Market

ISSN: 2056-4945

Article publication date: 2 May 2017




The purpose of this paper is to present the findings from research that explores the business value of a performance arts-based initiative in supporting change management through devising. Devising is a process that encompasses improvisation to generate social interaction within a community of practice.


A novel approach is reported on: a case study that includes interviews with key members of partner organizations, representing a business, a performance producer and a commissioning agency, participant observation of a member of the performance production film and the devising process.


Findings presented highlight phases of the devising process and the engagement with the creative practices employed. Findings highlight that benefits emerge through the reflexive nature of activities during the processes of creating the performance, as well as reflection on the final performance piece.

Research limitations/implications

Case study research is necessarily a qualitative design that is not generalizable to a broader population. Findings do, however, highlight potentially useful practices that may be further developed for future research.

Practical implications

Performance arts has pushed previously untested boundaries in employee engagement within the business, resulting in deep understanding between managers and employees on how value may be co-created and redeployed across the business.


The paper extends the application of improvisation by situating it within the creative practice of devising. This enables performance to be critically examined as an arts-based initiative within business contexts.



Harwood, T. and Smith, S. (2017), "An evaluation of performance arts in generating business value", Arts and the Market, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 80-100.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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