What can organizational development (OD) professionals learn from theatre actors? In her article “Borrowing From Professional Theatre Training to Build Essential Skills in Organization Development Consultants,” published on November 1, 2012 in The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Leslie Stager Jacques of Massey University “explores the relationship between the interpersonal skills required by professional actors and those required by organization development (OD) practitioners”:
The objective is not to turn OD practitioners into actors but rather to indicate what might be a useful source of skill development for OD professionals. Although the end uses for the skill sets diverge, the skills themselves seem similar if not the same, especially the foundational skills of self-awareness, listening, and observing. Traditional methods of learning interpersonal skills may only address traditional OD problems that require diagnostic, positivistic control of behavior change. However, acting training such as improvisational techniques may develop more advanced skills such as reciprocity and collaborating, which are needed to practice dialogic forms of OD grounded in postmodern premises of shared meaning making, multiple realities, and collaborative solutions as proposed by Bushe and Marshak.