Organizations all over the world are not without problems and difficulties as they face change on a daily basis while trying to keep their traditions and ideals intact. This is most true with organizations that focus on the traditional market/services while having to unite those services with modern innovations. When we say innovations these does not only pertain to certain technological tangible equipments but it can also mean new processes, means and even situations that can only be created by today’s advancing times.
Because of this, it is imperative for organizations to have some plan or strategy that would help them stay afloat without sacrificing what they regard as their purpose. An example would be how the traditional art scene have rapidly decreased in activity because of the more “cool” contemporary arts or worse, because there are other places people can go to like malls and bars instead of being patrons of artistic ventures or exhibits.
Going back, these so called problems that organizations face would be the tremendous growth in diversified clients, members and patrons that tends to create a cultural gap between the members and even the leaders who are handling the organizations. This is most true in many forms and types of organizations but for specificities’ sake, this discussion will focus on the contemporary art organizations that cater to very diverse tastes, attitudes and philosophies.
Art, after all, can be regarded as a means of freedom of expression and this is most especially true in today’s art scene wherein freedom of expression is not only an option, it is a necessity. Because of the varied and eclectic people that compose the different art organizations around the world, problems arise on the context that too much diversity can cause confusion among the members which is evidently caused by the wide cultural gap not just between one or two persons but even among everyone who are part of said organization.
This diversity and wide cultural gap is of course caused by how tremendous globalization has been that in one art scene or organization, people from different parts of the state, country and even the world would collate to form that single group. Thus, it is essential that organizations keep in mind certain things if they want to survive such a fast-paced world and if they want to even expand in population and improve in terms of their products, projects and provisions.
Of the many discussions and articles that other people have written on different important aspects of organizations, there are some which are enlightening and which are sensible and yet people, mostly leaders and management teams, forget or altogether ignore such aspects. These aspects are mostly centred on the following: lack of purpose of the organization, failure to properly pinpoint the cause of the problem and finally, need for effective strategies that would solve the problem.
Lack of Purpose of the Organization In the article of Wheatley (2008), she describes why terrorists groups are one of the finest examples of organizations in the world as they have a single unifying purpose in their agenda. This metaphor for the best organization is rather unusual and even uncomfortable as terrorists groups create horror around the world with their vendettas but Wheatley (2008) does have a point when she says that they are “among the most effective and powerful organizations in the world today”.
What she presents is an analysis on why terrorist networks have no means to “formal power, advanced technology, large budgets, or great numbers of followers” and yet, they manage to cause such a strong impact that they are “changing the course of history” (Wheatley, 2008). This is where one of the most fundamental aspects of any organization should have is presented and it lies in the presence of an “ideal or purpose that gives them a group identity which compels them to act” (Wheatley, 2008).
What Wheatley insists on is true, most especially if it is applied in contemporary arts organizations wherein much passion and ideals are present but sometimes misplaced or even divided. The problem with arts organizations all over is that they have too diversified output for their passions that there is no commonality or unity among what they want, what they want done and what they would like to do in the future.
Because terrorist groups have such commonality in their purpose, whatever action or “project” they undertake, it is almost always successful that the world is compelled to watch or prod on their “projects”. In the arts scene, passion for the art itself can be their common cause and identifying what do they want to achieve with their organization can make their group more efficient and active; as what Wheatley (2008) wrote, “As networks mature, they are fuelled more by passion than by information.
” Failure to Properly Pinpoint the REAL Cause of the Problem The advice that Wheatley gave on how to have such a successful organization is to have a unified purpose from such diversified members of the group. This is tremendously connected to another possible means in which to have an efficient and effective organization and that is to acknowledge that a problem exists in the group and that the problem is most likely the persistence of misunderstanding caused by cultural gap.
According to Hofstede (2005), problems in art organizations usually arise from the fact that there is too much diversity among cultures and that management groups of the organization are remiss in admitting that that is indeed the problem: “Many leaders do not wish to acknowledge the possibility of a cross-cultural communication problem in international dealings. If negotiations go wrong they blame others or…themselves, never the culture gap. ” (Hofstede, 2005) The picture than Hofstede painted is common but not unsolvable.
What leaders of such organizations should do is admit that that is the problem and that they should think up of strategies that would effectively solve those problems—but that will be discussed later on the essay. With all these difficulties that diversity of culture presents, would it not be better to just have a common art organizations among people who have the same culture? This is not entirely the case for culture does not just mean belonging to the same ethnic background of certain group of people, the culture here encompasses a commonality among a certain group of people.
Thus, the people who are into the arts have their own culture but then again, there is also a different culture that separates the visual from the performance arts and even that of the traditional from the contemporary forms of art. This means that there is a diversity of culture within a culture within a culture. This scene is inevitable as how Halbreich (2001) puts it, “We’ve just crossed into a new century in which the rate and dimension of change promises to test all our powers of invention”.
This new century is the modern times; these powers of invention are the possible ventures that we may undertake to support such cultural diversity. However, it is important to note that cultural diversity is not bad; it is the cultural gap that it creates which is the unpleasant and unfortunate factor. Thus, how do we solve this cultural gap among members of organizations? This is discussed in how management groups should have effective strategies that address the problem and this strategy usually starts in something very simple: admit that there is a problem. The Need for Effective Strategies That Would Solve the Problem
When Hofstede (2005) claimed that leaders do not acknowledge the presence of cultural gap, Halbriech (2001) provided the answer to how to solve this: “We must adapt to become a filter, through which some of these competing worldviews can be debated and new communities established. ” Organizations becoming a “filter” mean that it is through them that people would be able to identify where they would want to go and belong to (in terms of patronizing an arts organization) and then zeroing on those identified aspects that leaders would be able to establish a permanent community or organization for them.
Thus, what leaders should do is recognize the needs (and sometimes, even wants) of the members, build around those needs and cater to them. For example, Ritzer et al. (2008), isolates a particular problem with the diverse culture in arts organizations wherein the problem is that local colour or culture fails to be reflected in the organization. This just means that they focus too much on a global standard without thinking that the organization should also reflect the “character of the geographic locales” (Ritzer et al. , 2008).
If what Ritzer et al. say is true, then it means that the needs and wants of the immediate members of the organizations are ignored which creates a gap or misunderstanding among the group. A great example in trying to come up with strategies in solving gaps in arts organizations can be seen in the illustration of Halbreich (2001): “We aim to magnify the ways in which visitors…can become more active participants in a series of memorable experiences based on discovering links between art and life, as well as among artistic disciplines.
” This illustration demonstrates how the art organization presented by Halbreich is very ideal in the sense that they manage to have a standard or purpose in mind (which is for the visitors to become participants in viewing the art) while thinking about the condition of the other end as well (by considering the real life situation of the audience) and linking the two together. Conclusion
In conclusion, difficulties in arts organizations are inevitable since the members and patrons are varied and diverse in culture and attitude. Difficulties of such organizations are usually caused by cultural gaps in the group but they can be solved and remedied by admitting that there is a problem caused by the gap, and proving necessary strategies that addresses the issue while maintain true to the ideals of the group.
However, one cannot help but think that Wheatley is most correct in her suggestion of addressing the overall issue in arts organizations—development and growth of the group, maintain diversity in the organization, and staying on track with the ideals of the organization—which is having a firm passion in the purpose of the organization since everything else would naturally follow suit.
Cummings, S. (2008). Strategy: past, present and future. The Sage Handbook of New Approaches in Management and Organization. SAGE: Singapore. pp. 184-216
Halbreich, K. (2001). Inventing new models for the museum and its audiences. Curating Now: Imaginative Practice/Public Responsibility. Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative: Philadelphia. pp. 67-79.
Hofstede, G.J. (2005). A bridge requires a gap. Introduction to Business Communication. Peter Lang Publishing Group: Frankfurt. pp. 163-170.
Lustig, M.W. et al. (2005). Introduction to cultural patterns and intercultural communication. Introduction to Business Communication. Peter Lang Publishing Group: Frankfurt. pp. 171-182.
Ritzer, G. et al. (2008). Empty organizations. The Sage Handbook of New Approaches in Management and Organization. SAGE: Singapore. pp. 215-216.
Wheatley, M. (2008). Learning about networks from terrorists. The Sage Handbook of New Approaches in Management and Organization. SAGE: Singapore. pp. 178-179.