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Inter-play(ing) – embodied and relational possibilities of “serious play” at work

Wendelin Küpers (ICN Business School Nancy Metz, Nancy, France)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 13 November 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the role of embodied dimensions and relational possibilities of (serious) play at work. It shows how a phenomenological and processual approach can help in developing an integral understanding of (serious) play and its paradox in relation to work and practical wisdom and professional artistry in organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on the literature review and phenomenology, the role of embodied dimension, and the nexus of playful practitioners, practices and playgrounds are discussed. Systematically, then the concept of “inter-playing” is proposed as a specific embodied and processual practice. Subsequently, the in-between is shown to be a medium and transrelational nexus for (serious) play that allows a more comprehensive understanding and implications.

Findings

Based on the phenomenological and relational approach, the concept of (inter-)play allows an extended understanding of serious play and its paradox as a form of an inter-practice. The mediating in-(ter-)between is revealed as decisive for playful practices and playgrounds in organizations. Serious play is linked to practical wisdom and professional artistry in organizations.

Research limitations/implications

Specific theoretical and methodological implications for exploring and enacting play are offered. It is suggested to take research itself as a form of inter-practice and to enact a more integral epistemology and methodological pluralism, including body-related and art-based approaches and critical issues.

Practical implications

Some specific practical implications are provided that facilitate and enable embodied play and play-spaces in an ongoing, arts-based learning and development process in organizational and educational contexts.

Social implications

The corporeality of responsive inter-play is seen as connected to sociality and social interaction as self and others are considered as a nexus. In particular, poetic phrónêsis in professional playful practice is linked to social creativity that includes attention and recognition of others and otherness as well as social inclusivity.

Originality/value

By extending the existing discourse and using an embodied approach, the paper proposes a novel orientation for re-interpreting serious play. Equally, it offers the new processual concepts of inter-play and inter-practice that allow more explorations and connections to discourses and practices of phronesis and art(istry).

Keywords

Citation

Küpers, W. (2017), "Inter-play(ing) – embodied and relational possibilities of “serious play” at work", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 30 No. 7, pp. 993-1014. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOCM-12-2016-0267

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited