Chapter 14. Organization as Theater

Theater as an activity, as a staging of reality, depends on the ability of the audience to frame what they experience. It depends precisely on the audience recognizing, being aware, that they are an audience; they are witnesses to, not participants in, a performance. It depends further on a distinction between actors and the parts they play—characters may die on stage, but actors will live to take a bow. Finally, theater depends on a recognition that performances play with reality in such a way as to turn the taken-for-granted into a plausible appearance.

—Mangham and Overington, 1987, p. 49

All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players." So wrote Shakespeare some four hundred years ago, capturing ...

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