chapter  8
18 Pages

The aesthetic of imperfection in orchestras and organizations


The problem I’m concerned with is organizational innovation and renewal, which I think can be understood partly as a problem of how to achieve order within diversity. The way I want to attack this problem is by taking seriously the advice I handed out in the paper titled, Amendments to Organizational Theory, namely, if you want to understand organizations, study something else. Part of the rationale for that prescription is that if you understand something, almost anything, in some depth, you will have learned something about order and chaos in the human condition. And once you begin to understand order and chaos, you begin to understand something about large-scale human organizations. The “something else” that I used to illustrate the argument was collective improvisation in jazz orchestras, such as those assembled by Duke Ellington, Woody Herman, and Stan Kenton.