[We’re pleased to welcome authors Lakshmi Balachandran Nair of Utrecht University, Pauline Fatien Diochon of Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Reka Anna Lassu of the University of Central Florida, and Suzanne G. Tilleman of the University of Montana, Missoula. They recently published an article in the Journal of Management Inquiry entitled “Let’s Perform and Paint! The Role of Creative Mediums in Enhancing Management Research Representation,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, They reflect on their research:]
A video of an indigenous tribe member with colorful body paint and a heavy beaded necklace filming his peers with a camera in the middle of the Amazon rainforest…
An analogy of a cocktail party used to represent the complex Higgs boson phenomenon in the simplest way possible…
What do these have in common?
They are creative mediums used by scholars to display research findings in an evocative, yet informative way. Expanding on examples such as these, our article advocates for the use of creative mediums to showcase the product of an inquiry, either alone or as a supplement to traditional reporting. We provide a rationale for how these mediums trigger interest, foster a multisensory experience, convey complex meaning, and spark contemporary, inclusive dialogues.
How did we have this idea?
“Here are markers and a poster. Show us a new research idea you think will generate curiosity, conversation, and collaboration and is emblematic of The Journal of Management Inquiry’s spirit”
This was the prompt we were given by Dr. Hannah and Dr. Stackman at the concluding workshop session of the 2016 Western Academy of Management Conference after they had introduced an example of recent research about how the presence of animals influences people at work. The few of us at our table began brainstorming.
“Did you know that some PhD students dance their dissertation?” said Dr. Balachandran Nair.
This question started a discussion about how management researchers are familiar with the use of creative mediums to illustrate intricate and dynamic organizational environments. However, the majority of the researchers tend to restrict the use of creative mediums to facilitating the process of inquiry. What if these creative mediums could showcase the findings?
We quickly sketched our idea on a poster (see left).
All the participants showed each other their posters and voted on their favorites.
The initial poster presenting our ideas
The enthusiasm from the workshop motivated us to examine the creative practices in other fields and to see whether and how we can adapt ideas for reporting research findings to the management field. Voilà, the project was born. The article inspired by the workshop is innovative in its idea and format. While using creative mediums for research representation certainly contrasts with dominant text-based vehicles, we believe in the potential of creative mediums to increase engagement, retention, and impact – not only with fellow researchers but also with practitioners and the general public. We see creative mediums as a way to build bridges with several communities around researchers. None of us are professional artists, but we had to practice what we preach, so we challenged ourselves to include a poem, cartoon, and a collage along with our article.
Now, it is your turn to get creative!
Lakshmi Balachandran Nair, Pauline Fatien Diochon, Reka Anna Lassu, Suzanne Tilleman