Bach, Beethoven, and Bureaucracy: The Case of the Philadelphia Orchestra

Bach, Beethoven, and Bureaucracy: The Case of the Philadelphia Orchestra

Bach, Beethoven, and Bureaucracy: The Case of the Philadelphia Orchestra

Bach, Beethoven, and Bureaucracy: The Case of the Philadelphia Orchestra

Excerpt

America today is experiencing a widespread questioning of authority and values. Educational, political, professional, religious, and other institutions are being increasingly subjected to critical examination to determine their responsiveness and relevance in a rapidly changing world. Studies by social scientists are shedding new light upon the dysfunctional aspects of bureaucracy in an attempt to determine just how high a price we have paid for our highly advanced technological and industrial society.

To date, there has been little or no focus upon bureaucratization in our cultural institutions. This study is intended as a contribution in that area. The Philadelphia Orchestra has been selected as the subject of a case study for two reasons: first, it is probably the best known and most successful symphony orchestra in the world; and second, I was for 20 years a member of that orchestra. As such, I was privy to experiences and conversations with Orchestra members, Board members, staff, legal counsel, and union officials of greater depth and frankness than would have been available to any outside investigators. However, I have not relied upon personal experience alone. All the findings have been documented, and the reporting of attitudes and values within the organization is confirmed by the presentation of supplementary material from a professionally-conducted survey and various publications.

It must be stressed that the problems revealed by this study are not peculiar to the Philadelphia Orchestra, but are . . .

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