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Madeline Schrock on Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014
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These days, dancing isn’t just for the dancers. It’s taken over TV shows and exercise crazes, entered into the curriculums of public schools and has been used as movement therapy for the elderly. But the one place you wouldn’t expect to see dance is in corporate America.
However, research in this month’s edition of the Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion suggests that CEOs in suits could benefit from a little creative movement. A team at the University of Eastern Finland asked a group of managers to “dance their feelings” and videotaped the sessions in order to reveal some of the emotional interactions of management. So why not just use a questionnaire or interview to ask the managers how they feel? Since business traditionally deals with rational and cognitive issues—experiences that don’t usually involve the body or emotions—the team thought that by engaging managers’ whole bodies, they might be able to glean new information about the more abstract qualities of the job, specifically employee interaction.
Although it’s not that probable that VPs would clamor at the chance to have a midday dance break, I at least applaud the team for recognizing the indisputable knowledge of our bodies, our physical problem solvers. When participants danced, they were able to identify previously unconscious thoughts about their work life. Plus, they reported that dancing had therapeutic effects. And a less stressed boss means a happier workplace for everyone.