This chapter defines organizational improvisation. It begins by addressing
the origins of the concept of improvisation, and then focuses on its core
elements - a performative action, a measure of novelty, its deliberate
nature, and the temporal convergence between design and action. The chapter
then discusses the concept more broadly, reflecting on associated metaphors,
improvisational theater and jazz, and important nuanced processes often
involved in improvisation such as sense-making or bricolage. The chapter
also contrasts the concept of improvisation with other overlapping
constructs, highlighting what distinguishes them. For example, improvisation
is often compared to innovation, since both concepts involve the production
of some kind of novelty. However, improvisation involves convergence of
planning and action, which is not necessarily the case with innovation.
Furthermore, innovation is defined as useful novelty, whereas improvisation
can also produce harmful novelty. The chapter also contrasts improvisation
with creativity, adaptation, learning, compression, intuition, and
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