Dramatic Dilemmas: Drama-based Decision Support

Dörfler, Viktor, Baracskai, Zoltán, Velencei, Jolán, Szendrey, Jaszmina & Stierand, Marc (2012) Dramatic Dilemmas: Drama-based Decision Support, 72nd Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, 3-7 August 2012, Boston, Massachusetts

For nearly two decades we have been trying to find appropriate ways to support executive decision takers and dedicated most of both our academic research and our consultancy to this issue. We developed a conceptual framework and some practices for coaching, a software tool for knowledge engineering, and three post-experiential, post-MBA courses for management education. Building on this prior experience, we have been focusing recently on development of executives in their organizational context – we offer this contextualized development as a next-generation decision support.

The scene of our workshop is the chaotic-turbulent world of organizations and our executive is a drama hero (as opposed to the action hero) in constant doubt about right and wrong. We started using dramas several years ago to depict decision situations as they over-emphasize the characters, making the conflict more obvious. In the catharsis the executives realized: “this happened to me” or “this could have happened to me” or “this can happen to me tomorrow”. We have found this approach to education of executives and executive coaches fruitful, and now we are taking the ‘dramatic dilemmas’ from the classroom into the organizational context of decision takers. The main problem that we are trying to address is changing how the executive views a particular situation. To achieve this, the executive has to change the conceptual framework and we have found that switching from the old concepts to the new ones requires a ‘trigger concept’. In this PDW we offer the participants a hands-on experience of this process.

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