Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

An Exploratory Study of Administrative Workers in the Arts : Are They Really Different from For-Profit Workers?

Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

An Exploratory Study of Administrative Workers in the Arts : Are They Really Different from For-Profit Workers?

Article excerpt

This study focuses on an exploration of value differences between administrative workers in the arts and workers in for-profit business organizations. Data were collected among both for-profit and arts workers to determine if there are differences in the things they value in the workplace. Analyses indicate that there are differences between the groups' work values. The managerial implications of the study are then discussed at length.here has been an increasing appreciation of the special problems and administrative imperatives faced by managers in semi-public organization and not-for-profit arts organizations in particular. Most arts organizations function somewhere in the gray area between a public agency (as they are frequently supported by, and responsible to, both municipal and Federal programs) and true not-for-profits. As such, administrators in arts organizations look to the experiences of both public agencies, as well as not-for-profit organizations, to provide guidance on the daily management of their organizational mission.

Although public administration research has (to some extent) examined the special characteristics of the public worker,[1] little has been done to specifically examine personnel in arts organizations. The majority of the literature that examines the arts organization focuses on issues of funding development, marketing, board development, and strategic planning.[2] The contribution of this body of work to the development of increased professionalism among arts managers is inestimable; in an environment of increasing competition for arts funding, administrators need every advantage to ensure continued delivery of their product to the community. The recognition of the need for increased professional identity and professional skills among not-for-profit arts managers has led to the development of a number of university programs that provide specific training to those who intend to pursue careers in arts administration.[3] Both arts management educators and the arts community have recognized the fact that, successful arts programs depend upon successful management.[4]

Although there has been a substantial effort dedicated to the preparation of the arts manager with regard to fund raising, board development and marketing skills, very little attention has been directed toward the development of the manager's ability to effectively hire, develop, compensate, and promote lower-level administrative workers. Because so little emphasis has been placed upon human resource management in the arts context, we know very little about the efficacy of traditional public or private human resource management practices within the arts sector. Employees in the arts, as well as in many other communitarian venues, work in an environment that is demanding, unpredictable, rich in community recognition and poor in dollar compensation; in other words, a significant human resources challenge.

Unfortunately, although human resource management techniques have demonstrated effectiveness in the mainstream public and private sectors, one cannot say with certainty that prescriptions for absenteeism, tardiness, lack of productivity, conflict resolution, or turnover will work as well (if at all) in the unique context of arts organizations. Newman and Wallender,[5] for instance, are specific in their concern that, for-profit management may not always work with not-for-profit workers.

This study is designed to explore the possibility that, administrative personnel in the arts bring a different set of work values to their jobs than do their private counterparts. These differences in work values may help to explain why arts personnel choose to work in their field, and may provide some insight into how arts managers can design human resource management practices to better address the needs and expectations of these unique employees. Hopefully, by developing a better profile of the arts worker, better and more productive techniques for the management of the administrative side of arts organizations and of other similar organizations can be effected. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.