Research Article

2018

Discovering the meaningfulness of art in organizations

Experiences with add art Hamburg 2015

ARIANE BERTHOIN ANTAL / ILANA NUSSBAUM BITRAN

Zeitschrift für Kulturmanagement 2018 (2), 55-76.
doi http://dx.doi.org/10.14361/zkmm-2018-0203
Abstract

Given the growth in corporate art collecting, surprisingly little research has been conducted on how employees experience art in the workplace. This article draws on survey data collected in the context of add art Hamburg 2015, which included permanent and temporary exhibitions in 22 organizations. The findings confirm that the presence of artworks can interrupt routine ways of perceiving and using space. It triggers questions and conversations, which stimulate sensemaking processes and enrich relationships with colleagues. It also opens managers and employees to seeing everyday life and relationships with customers in a more holistic way. Furthermore, the study shows that the removal of artworks is experienced as loss and emptiness, as well as a harbinger of new potential. Finding that employees welcome more art at work, the article discusses the conditions under which people in organizations can engage with the arts as co-learners.