Through the looking glass of organizational theatre: Analogically mediated inquiry in organizations

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52 Citations (Scopus)


Organizational theatre is now widely used as a platform for analogically mediated inquiry and change. Using an alternate template research strategy, we combined interview, visual, and survey methods to study the processes underlying an organizational theatre effort over a year, clarifying how theatre performances analogically affect employees' understanding of their workplace. We identified a 'looking glass' effect, where analogies create shifting reflections over time that lead to unpredictably emergent changes in the way employees perceive their organization. Our study not only informs the organizational theatre literature, but addresses broader debates on analogical thinking in organization studies, suggesting that current explanations of analogical processes may be overly restricted both in their scope and their conclusions. Specifically, we propose that compound analogues such as organizational theatre, sculpture and film will not only work differently from more abstract and singular analogues, but create very different effects as well.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1805-1827
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


  • organizational theatre
  • analogy
  • metaphor
  • process theory
  • looking glass effect


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