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An investigation into the intraorganisional climate that contributes to the development and sustainability of dance companies involving people with learning difficulties

Murphy, Jenny (2012)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

This study investigates the intraorganisational climate of dance companies involving people with learning disabilities through two qualitative case studies. Emphasis is placed on how group cohesion and leadership can contribute to the development, stability and continuity of such companies. The literature is subdivided into two chapters. The first, ‘Contextualising Dance for People with Disabilities’, places the research in a broader context drawing on theoretical models and definitions of disability, followed by a detailed exploration of disability arts. It then moves into the history and philosophy of Community Dance, as the research is situated within this arena. The second chapter, ‘Theorising Group Cohesion and Leadership’, explores specific theories of group cohesion and leadership. Carron et al.’s (2005 and 2008) conceptual frameworks related to group cohesion, and Hersey and Blanchard’s (1988) theory of ‘situational leadership’ were explored in depth to underpin the ensuing study.

An interpretive paradigm formed the basis for the study, using qualitative research methods. Ten semi-structured interviews were conducted; six questionnaires, in-depth observations and a variety of documentation were collated and triangulated. The data provided a broad range of perspectives, offering reliable rich data investigating the development and sustainability of dance companies involving people with learning difficulties. Hearing the voices of the dancers’ with learning difficulties throughout was seen as paramount to the research. However, this proved to be a significant challenge. The findings illustrated that at the heart of the successful dance company exists distributed and situational leadership. These styles result in the establishment of rituals, norms, distinctive roles and modes of communication and nurture an essential collective sense of identity.

Type of Work:M.Phil. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Benn, Tansin
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of Dance, Drama and Theatre Arts, School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies
Subjects:BF Psychology
GV Recreation Leisure
LC Special aspects of education
PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3754
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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