William Mesa  

A MAP TO READING AND FINDING TOPICS IN HARMONY: Eight Years of Research, Studies, and Articles

William Mesa
November 6, 2019


Hierarchy of Authority: Governance and Structural Ambiguity

Orchestras attempting to institute organizational change encountered the pressures associated with integrating the organization. Specifically, making changes required new forms of integration. Areas requiring change and in turn creating integration pressures were found in the board/management and the conductor. Orchestras have functioned under traditional structures and assumptions for years and breaking the crust of such tradition was the essential challenge set forth by a number of authors. Yet changing traditional structures brought about integration problems based on long-held assumptions of management v. musician tensions.Authority and governance structures seemed ambiguous or experimental because changes implemented generated new problems of integration.

A dominant area that characterized the structural change in governance—the hierarchy of authority—was that of musician input (Pollack, 1996) and the problem that such input either does not exist or is limited in scope.(Levine and Levine, 1996) This type of organizational change has a direct impact on traditional modes of operation for orchestras. Given the assumption of management v. musician, the lack of trust between the groups further heightened the need for determining the role of authority structures in orchestras, yielding a degree of disorientation, ambiguity, or lack of clarity for boards, conductors, and management.

Areas of discussion were self-governance through a network of committees (Zenone, Judy and Scholl, 1999; Editors, 1999; Lehman, 1999) in conjunction with examining orchestra board effectiveness. (Goodell, 1999; Judy, 1999) Structures that emphasized equality, self-governance and like minded visions were imperative towards furthering the need to integrate the social structure of orchestras given new authority structures. (Editors, 1999; Lehman, 1999) Fogel (2000) provided an incisive examination on the nature of the existing governance structure with practical areas for improvement such as including musicians on orchestra decisions and generating trust throughout the organization. By suggesting the alignment of board duties to reflect those of corporate boards, Fogel’s (2000) model provides a basis for orchestras to integrate the diversity of constituents toward a common goal. One way to confront the challenges of changing the structures was to narrow the scope of Board duties (Noteboom 2002) since successful orchestra organizations were linked to strong boards and leadership.(Morris, 2002; Boulin, 2002; Valliere, 2002; Editors, 2002)

A second area of authority structures that went through changes was the role, place, and leadership of the conductor. The place of the music director, while critically examined in many Harmony issues, was best evaluated in Editors (2001(c)) and Levine (2001). While the current conductor model in orchestras is efficient, (Levine, 2001) as in industrial production, it contributes less towards a fully integrated post-industrial approach. (Levine, 2001; Zenone, 2001)No alternative models exist, yet the model engenders ill organizational health by not integrating the full resources of musicians at different levels. (Levine, 2001; Zenone, 2001; Editors, 2001(c); Starr, 2001) Since music direction is centered on the conductor, the lack of musician input—the producers of the music experience—remains untapped in many orchestra organizations. (Zenone, 2001) Importantly, Wolf and Perille (2002) emphasized defining the conductor’s role in relation to the unique qualities of different orchestras.The “one size does not fit all” was a common theme in devising and defining processes—a progressive step in integrating the social structure of orchestras in a way that reflects post-industrial organizations. (Stearns, 2002; Wagner and Ward, 2002; Editors, 2002(a))

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