Passion


The questions that Organizational scholars have been asking for the last century all deal with how to make organizations more rational, more productive, and more humane, in an instrumental way. Organizational scholarship has largely been rational, scientistic, objective, intellectual, and instrumental. It has ignored aesthetic inquiry, sensory embodied and tacit knowledge that can make organizations more passionate, artistic, beautiful and happy. In Western cultures passion is “suspect”, denounced as being dangerous, irrational, crazy and extremist. It is to be avoided by managers and organizations. Passion is relegated to realms of art, love, and suffering. Ironically, no great human feat was ever accomplished without passion. Passion refers to holistic and intense intellectual, physical, and emotional engagement of goals. In goal seeking organizations passion can be a defining element. This symposium is designed for audiences to experience passion and its relevance to managing and organizing. Passion cannot just be "explained" intellectually, it must be experienced with body, mind, and emotions. l use Argentine Tango (AT) to achieve such embodied understanding of passion, and for learning managerial skills of improvisation, leadership, teamwork, communication, and community building. (Paul Shrivastava)

Managing with Passion

Academy of Management August 2008, Anaheim CA.
  1. There is a vast literature on passion. The Bible is probably the original text of Passion (of Christ). Prior to that, the Greeks understood passions in the acts of their Gods and Godesses – Zeus, Bacchus, Aphrodite. Shakespeare and the Romanticist writers made passion into love and lust. And with “Age of Reason”, passion went underground.
  2. What is passion from an organizational perspective? For now let us just make one simple connection. Organizations are about pursuing goals. But before there can be goals, there has to be desire. And desire in its extreme form is passion. Passion is a form of knowledge, it is a source of energy and motivation, it involves engaging life and work holistically with mind, body and emotions.
  3. In organizations passion is denounced and belittled, as being dangerous, risky, "irrational", crazed and extreme. The cultural and organizational sub-text is that passion is best avoided by managers and organizations. Passion is relegated to the realms of art, love, and suffering. Yet, ironically, we know that no great human feat was ever accomplished without passion. Passion is the root of high performance, of excellence. Successful entrepreneurs claim passion. Jim Collins in From Good to Great, identifies “passion” as a hallmark of great companies.
  4. Social sciences and organizational studies methods - largely rational, scientistic, objective, intellectual, and instrumental - are not suited to feeling passion. In contrast, passionate inquiry is embodied and aesthetic subjective, sensory, and emotional seeking to make life (and organizations) more passionate, artistic, beautiful and happy.
  5. Passion cannot be just “understood” and “explained” intellectually. It must be experienced. There are many embodied learning approaches that allow experiencing the tacit knowledge of passions. This symposium is an attempt to share an experience of passion and relate it to organizing and managing skills.
  6. We use ARGENTINE TANGO (AT) as an embodiment of passion and of several managerial skills. We will focus on skills of improvisation, leadership, teamwork, communication and community building as expressed/incarnated in Tango.
  7. AT is a dance, a type of music, and a culture. It is a completely improvised dance. The leader interprets the music, and in team with the follower co-creates aesthetic movements. Dancers use their bodies (head to toe) to communicate intricate movements without uttering a word. It is hard to talk about, so let us just show you our passion for the dance and music. Tango on Youtube