Arts Management

Arts Management

Arts Management

Arts Management

Synopsis

This work educates existing and future arts managers to appreciate their artistic, managerial and social responsibilities, to understand the context and conditions faced by arts and cultural organizations in contemporary society and associated critical issues in management.

Excerpt

An observation attributed to Germaine Greer at the end of the twentieth century - that marketing is the principal cultural form of our time - served as a topic of exchange in a major British newspaper (Guardian, 27 March 1999). The choice of debaters, the managing director of a major public relations firm and the paper's chief art critic, was suggestive of the links between publicity and oil painting examined by John Berger in Ways of Seeing (1972). Following Berger's analysis in the early 1970s, the encroachment of management theory - not least of all associated with notions of consumer sovereignty - into many areas of social activity has been steady. Fear and greed, particularly on the part of middle managers, helps to explain 'Heathrow Organization Theory', the mischievous term coined by Gibson Burrell to characterize the 'philosophical vacuity' underpinning management thinking, which results from 'the fact that most mid-Atlantic managers think with their beliefs than about them' (Burrell 1989:308, 307).

Yet it is prudent to remember that insider accounts have characterized management gurus as fallible propagandists. Financial Times columnist Lucy Kellaway has criticized the management self-help business. By way of illustration, 'F+M= P * R' (where F = Formula, M = Management, P = Pretentious, R = Rubbish) is how she mocks the crude and simplistic pragmatism encapsulated by flow charts to gain scientific respectability (Kellaway 2000:58). In the same vein, 'bullshit bingo' is a game of lining up management clichés: it accentuates the reliance on a 'piece of verbal wallpaper to cover flaws in argument and gaps in thinking' (leader in the London Times, 6 April 2000). This is consistent with the case against management theory - incapable of self-criticism, incomprehensible gobbledegook, rarely rises above basic common sense, and faddish and bedevilled by contradictions - as posited by Economist staffers (Micklethwait and Wooldridge 1996).

What is the relevance of art and aesthetics in the practice and study of organizations and their management? How can we better understand the management of creativity and innovation in complex knowledge flows between cultural production and consumption? These are questions posed at the 2001 Critical Management Studies conference, organized by the Manchester School of Management, in the sessions devoted to 'art and aesthetics' and 'the management of creativity and creative industries'. The points of contact between the arts and management are many and complex. We are particularly interested in 'arts management' as an

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