The Value of Improvisation

Published on February 1, 2021

Bauer Professor Looks at Successful Decision-Making Using Improvisation

Dusya Vera, Professor, Department of Management & Leadership

Research from Dusya Vera, a Professor of Management & Leadership at the C. T. Bauer College of Business, explains how crisis management that draws from paradoxical approaches to decision-making – comprehensiveness, intuition, and improvisation –is often the most successful.

In “Top Managers’ Improvisational Decision Making in Crisis: A Paradox Perspective,” forthcoming in Management Decision, Vera and Pooyah Tabesh, a Ph.D. graduate from Bauer and an Assistant Professor at California State University (Los Angeles), provide a conceptual model of the link between improvisational decision-making and decision quality in crisis situations. Vera has been studying improvisation in organizations for more than 20 years, and the ambiguity, uncertainty, and urgency created by the COVID-19 global pandemic has dramatically increased the interest of academics and managers in understanding how individuals, teams, and organizations improvise.

Vera and Tabesh argue that, when leaders use improvisation in decision-making, those who combine both comprehensive decision-making techniques and intuitive decision-making tools with improvisation are able to create a valuable synergy that leads to positive results.

“It is critical for managers to understand the value of improvisational decision-making and the balanced combination of decision-making tools available to them in order to make rapid and quality decisions,” the researchers write.

By Julie Bonnin