Challenge: There is an increasing concern over how organizations can establish organizational commitment, innovation and productivity with its employees. There is also a growing interest in how physical workspaces influence employee interaction and commitment. This literature review looked at how the visual arts affect people who work and participate within an organization?


Research Approach and Methods: Using art as a lens to explore how people relate to organizations, 20 qualitative and quantitative journal articles were reviewed. They were divided in to three broad categories: Business Traditional in which organizations commission, purchase, and display art at their facilities; Business Enhanced in which there is more of a participatory element for employees to interact and/or create art themselves (often intended for team building and/or strengthening communication); and Business Strategic in which the arts are used as strategy to address issues in the organization. Summaries of each article included the purpose of the study, the main findings, and the pros and cons of the research findings.  


Key Learnings: These research articles showed that art has the ability to set the tone of an organizational environment. Both having art displayed and allowing employees to participate in arts-based programs is shown to alleviate stress and anxiety, and create a sense of well-being. The arts do not facilitate change in an organization; however, they encourage new approaches to thinking and coming up with new, innovative ideas that foster change. Empowering employees to be involved in their workplaces and in the design of their spaces leads to an improvement in performance, well-being and productivity.


 Impact of Research Findings: A creative environment encourages new ideas and innovation, recognizing employees even when they are one of thousands. It gives them the autonomy to make them feel in control of their choices, and fosters exploration into new possibilities.  The creative environment is the one in which art strategies have the potential to flourish and support employee growth. A strategic arts program, using arts to address issues within the organization, could benefit any business interested in fostering autonomy, engagement and a sense of ownership in their workers. In an era of constant change, the faster people can change in an organization the faster the business can evolve. The arts create a mindset of being able to break away from what is familiar and incorporate new ways of operating. It is this approach to thinking and coming up with new, innovative ideas that can foster change.