Monday, February 7, 2011

Stockholm University Shows Benefits of Arts Based Approaches in Leadership and Management

We received this encouraging news this morning from IJCAIP Advisory Board member Nick Nissley,Dean of Business, Cincinnati State

Evidence for Benefits of Arts Based Leadership

Health Effects on Leaders and Co-Workers of an Art-Based Leadership Development Program Julia Romanowska, Karolinska Institutet,Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University, Department of Leadership and Management,

Background: There are very few evaluations of the effectiveness of leadership development programs. The purpose of the study was to examine whether an art-based leadership program may have a more beneficial effect than a conventional one on leaders and their corresponding subordinates mental and biological stress. Methods:Participating leaders were randomized to 2 year-long leadership programs, 1 art-based and 1 conventional, with follow-up of the leaders and their subordinates at 12 and 18 months. The art-based program built on an experimental theatre form, a collage of literary text and music, followed by writing and discussions focused on existential and ethical problems. Results: After 18 months a pattern was clearly visible with an advantage for the art-based group. In the art group (leaders and their subordinates together as well as for subordinates only) compared to the conventional group, there was a significant improvement of mental health, covert coping and performance-based self-esteem as well as significantly less winter/fall deterioration in the serum concentration of the regenerative/anabolic hormone dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate. Conclusions:Our findings indicate a more beneficial long-term health effect of the art-based intervention compared to a conventional approach. Positive results for both standardized questionnaires and biological parameters strengthened the findings. The study provides a rationale for further evaluation of the effectiveness of this alternative educational approach.

Romanowska is coming to the U.S in May to present her research for the American Psychological Association.