Improvisation in the performance of academic managers: motivations, characteristics and results.

Name: Arthur Silva Santos
Type: MSc dissertation
Publication date: 21/07/2017

Namesort descending Role
Lucilaine Maria Pascuci Advisor *

Examining board:

Namesort descending Role
Annor da Silva Junior Internal Examiner *
Eloy Eros da Silva Nogueira External Examiner *
Lucilaine Maria Pascuci Advisor *
Victor Meyer Junior External Examiner *

Summary: In organizational environments with complex and dynamic characteristics, as is the case of universities, actions are developed by the dynamics among the actors because of their specificities. In this context, academic managers - such as undergraduate course coordinators - develop actions in their day to day to deal with demands that arise unexpectedly in relationships that are established with multiple actors. This study aimed to analyze the characteristics by which improvisation manifests itself in the academic management of a federal public university. For that, concepts of organizational improvisation, strategic management and academic management of universities were used. This is a qualitative study, exploratory in nature, using the case study method. Data were collected through participant observation, ethnographic interviews and documents, which were analyzed through narrative analysis and documentary analysis. Results evidenced the use of improvisation in the performance of academic managers, as a result of the interpretive and intuitive ability to creatively articulate available resources and their adaptation to the sudden demands. It was observed that improvisation made possible new experiences and new knowledge, but it was not a reason for breaking routines or procedures, perhaps because they are dynamic situations, punctual or even because of the difficulty and not interest in promoting change. It was identified that improvisation in the academic context is characterized, predominantly, as immediate actions and strongly influenced by the informality in the performance of the managers. Among the motivators of improvisation identified are the excessive bureaucracy, scarcity of resources, discontinuance of management positions, managerial amateurism, ignorance of the administrative specificities of the university, work overload, inadequate academic procedures and autonomy. It is concluded that, although the activities of academic management are prescribed, the characteristics of the context enhance improvisation as a mechanism of response and adaptation to the demands. Keywords: Organizational Improvisation, Strategy, Universities, Academic Management.

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