Due to factors related to funding for the arts along with the downward turning in the United States economy, a proposal was made for the merger of the Utah Symphony along with the Utah Opera companies. The dire situation confronting the arts community became more and more apparent reaching a crisis level in 2001. The Utah Symphony Orchestra was close to a deficit as noted by Scott Parker, “Speed of action was essential…I knew that there was a possibility that we could quickly find ourselves over the edge,” (DeLong & Ager, 2004).There is very little precedence for mergers between a major symphony orchestra and opera companies in the history of the United States. The two examples offered in the history, the merger of the Madison Symphony Orchestra and the Madison Opera in 1963 along with the Chattanooga Symphony and the Chattanooga Opera in 1985, resulted in either the companies remaining intact for a period of time or in them separating due to different ideologies and methodologies.
The two significant characters are Anne Ewers, who was asked to consider the position of CEO of the combined opera and symphony companies, and Keith Lockhart who is the very respected, long-time, music director and conductor of the Utah Symphony Orchestra. Both were invited to lead the merger in December, 2001. Given two very divergent cultures, they faced a very challenging process of uniting the two companies. The symphony environment is slow to change where as the opera was more adept to challenges and change. The executive committee felt ambivalent initially about the merger but due to the need to alleviate some of the financial pressures the organizations faced, they eventually agreed. However, opposition to the merger include members of the community as the audience and the musicians.
Lockhart has a very delicate position as the musicians look to him to protect their interests. So he held in tension the trust of the musicians and the viability of the organization as a whole. The musicians came up with some guiding principles they felt the merged entity needed to honor. The community also expressed its concern regarding the possible “loss of status” of the symphony if merged with the opera. They also questioned Ewers’ ability to manage the new entity due to her lack of experience in running a symphony orchestra.
Both Ewers and Lockhart faced a tremendous task as they set out to bring in the reigns on the merger. The board needs to utilize their motivation skills as they help drum up support for the merger. Ann also needs to understand her power and utilize it to persuade the community and the musicians that a merger would ultimately benefit the future of both entities. We will also explore her influence tactics.
Motivation is the reason or reasons that a person has for behaving the way he or she does and those reasons are typically a very complex phenomena. One of the most popular explanation for motivation is based upon the needs of the individual. This is also known as the “basic needs model,” referred to as the content theory of motivation (Cliffs Notes, 2012). Basically, all individuals want their basic needs satisfied. Those needs are either primary such as the biological need for food, sleep, and basic survival; or secondary needs such as those needs of psychological well-being such as the desire for power, success, and love. The identification of the secondary needs are much more complex since they vary in their definition by the individual due to cultural and experiential factors. Several different theories exist to explain the needs of individuals as the source of motivation because unmet needs motivate individuals to pursue and satisfy them.
Abraham Maslow has a theory which involve five basic needs (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2010). His list of basic needs include, “physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization,” which influence behavior. He ranked these needs in a hierarchical order since there are levels of need which come into play when a lower need has been satisfied. These needs influence a person’s attitudes and behaviors in that they create a compulsion to satisfy the deficiencies. His theory holds to the premise that unsatisfied needs motivate and influence behavior. A satisfied no longer motivates since people do not need to act to fill a deprivation. The physiological needs motivates an individual to find comfort, rest, refreshment and reasonable work conditions. The safety needs motivates an individual to look for job security, adequate compensation and benefits, and safe work conditions.
The love/social needs motivates one to find friendly co-workers, a pleasant and supportive supervisor, and good interaction with customers. Esteem needs motivates an individual to seek an important job which may offer a promotion to a higher status level and greater recognition. Self-actualization needs may cause an individual to seek participation in the decision-making process also with creative and challenging tasks. Leaders may tap into the different needs as described by Maslow to motivate individuals towards a particular agenda. Mr. Bailey is the chairman of the board for the Utah Opera Organization. He may utilize Maslow’s five basic needs theory to raise support for the merger.
Both the Utah Opera and Symphony Orchestra want to survive the financial implications of reduced funding and a dire economy which has contracted the patrons’ ability to support the arts. Mr. Bailey could appeal to satisfying their safety needs in that a merger would provide job security with the same amount of vacation for those involved. He could appeal to the social needs of the performers in the Orchestra by letting them know that Lockhart, who has been a trusted leader, would continue to provide them with supervision as their conductor and leader even after the merger. Many of the musicians also expressed a concern that their artistic excellence would not be protected.
Mr. Bailey could could appeal to their high-level needs as a means of motivating them to support their future as performers both individually and corporately. This involves motivation based upon their need for self-actualization. By letting them have autonomy in creativity and a role in decision-making, the performers could find continued challenge in their work. This would overlap with meeting their esteem needs in helping them to realize the importance of their roles. Understanding and utilizing Maslow’s theory can help Mr. Bailey with influencing the behavior of those involved in both organizations by appealing to their personal interests.
Scott Parker holds the position as the chairman of the board of the Utah Symphony. As a leader of that organization, he also faces the challenging task of finding influential supporters who would back the merger of the two companies. He could consider applying David McClelland’s theory of motivation (Kreitner & Kinick, 2010). McClelland recognized that each individual prioritizes their needs differently since individuals are not born with innate needs but the needs are learned through one’s life experiences. He identified three specific needs: the need for achievement which drives one to excel towards accomplishments, the need for power which causes one to exert influence or encouragement for others to achieve, and the need for affiliation which is a desire for close interpersonal relationships.
Individuals may have distinct needs demonstrated through their work preferences. Those wanting to motivate these individuals may shape the environment to meet these needs. For example, the high achievers would desire to do things better. Therefore, they find motivation in job situations with personal responsibility, feedback, and a moderate level of risk. Those with a high need for power would want to follow a path of subsequent promotions over time. They would desire to be in charge and have the opportunity to have status. Those with a need for affiliation would seek satisfying interpersonal relationships which would lead to companionship and approval.
They would desire relationships with a high degree of mutual understanding and social approval. Mr. Parker identified Mrs. Abravanel as an influential individual who may help him persuade others to vote for the merger if he could motivate her to support this endeavor. Mrs. Abravanel ’s late husband, Maurice, was the maestro and music director for the Utah Symphony Orchestra for 32 years. Therefore, Mrs. Abravanel would be greatly interested in sustaining the prestige and excellence of the Symphony which her late husband had secured during his prime. Several of the musicians felt concerned that the orchestra would become “the appendage of the opera,” (DeLong & Ager, 2004) if Ewers became the CEO of the merged organization.
They felt that Ewers would leave the Symphony with a less significant role as the Opera. Since the musicians represent the largest internal interest group, Mr. Parker could appeal to Mrs. Abravanel’s desire to keep the Symphony in a place of power and stability for the future. It is said that Maurice Abravanel, “had a reputation of defending his musicians vociferously,” (DeLong & Ager, 2004). Perhaps Mrs. Abravanel shares her husband’s passion for a position of status for the Symphony. McClelland theorizes that those with a high need of power is likely to want a position of status and influence. Mr. Parker could appeal to Mrs. Abravanel and entrust her with the responsibility of influencing others towards the merger due to her husband’s legacy. Mr. Parker could also appeal to her need for achievement.
High achieving individuals, according to McClelland would want to know whether they are improving the quality of job situations. Maurice Abravanel secured full-year contracts with full-time salaries for his musicians. Mr. Parker could pitch this goal as a potential for the musicians if Mrs. Abravanel became a supporter of the merger. This would provide the Symphony with continued professional status as as achieved by her husband in his fight for the musicians. “The relationship between orchestra musicians and the Utah Symphony Board and management had not always been amicable.
The board members had reopened the collective bargaining agreement and altered it such that the musicians were worse off in terms of their salaries,” (DeLong & Ager, 2004). McClelland in his theory sees each individual prioritizing their needs through learned experiences. Mr. Parker could appeal to Mrs. Abranavel’s desire and possible emotional need for continued affiliation with the Symphony because the success of it’s future is strongly related to her husband’s life endeavors. She would be representing her husband by her defense of the Orchestra’s future.
Though the term “power” potentially evokes some negative connotations and strong feelings in some. It is, however, an essential part of effective leadership as managers and leaders need to influence subordinates towards organizational goals. Anne Ewers, as the future CEO of the merged organization has both positional power and personal power. Her positional power is legitimate due to her formal position. Thus, the power that she will use is necessary given her authority as a leader to effectively get things done.
However, she could have a legitimate role as a leader and expect her subordinates to comply due to her role as their boss. This legitimate role could be expressed either positively or negatively in getting others to comply. Positive legitimate power would result in constructively improving those she would influence to work more effectively. Having negative legitimate power would influence subordinates to comply out of fear, shame, and intimidation. Anne also has referent power which is a power which comes from her personality. As a leader, she could use charisma and magnetism to appeal to her followers. An effective leader ideally needs to utilize all the “tools of the trade” which would include both positional (legitimate) and personal (referent) powers. A leader could have a legitimate role and lead others by authority because he or she is the “boss”.
However, an employee could have referent power but not be the “boss” of a company, attracting and inspiring many by a force of personality. If Anne utilized both powers together, she would not only lead by her authority, but also inspire and appeal to her subordinates with charisma. Having a leader who uses both positive legitimate power and referent power together would foster a committed staff. She would make an excellent leader since, “Commitment is superior to compliance because it is driven by internal or intrinsic motivation,” (Kreitner & Kinick, 2010). We will further discuss Anne’s use of these two powers below.
Ewer’s Positional Power:
Ewers has positional power as the current director of the opera and the future CEO of the merged entity. Her position as the leader/director gives her legitimate authority thus, positional power is the same as “legitimate power.” Those who work under Ewers must comply if they want to keep their job since she has the authority to make decisions and fire those who refuse to comply with her decisions. She could either use this authority in a positive manner as she manages her employees for in a negative manner. If she utilized her power positively, she would improve job performance and morale with her decisions. She could also use her power in a negative way by threatening to fire her employees and coercing them by fear tactics or shaming her employees by publicizing their failures.
Ewers would want to call meetings with leaders of the opera and orchestra so that she may utilize her legitimate power to build confidence and commitment. She wants to foster leaders who will be committed to the endeavors of the company rather than merely comply with the new company because they want job security since “employees who merely comply require frequent ‘jolts’ of power to keep them headed in a productive direction. Committed employees tend to be self-starters…” (Kreitner & Kinick, 2010). Anne Ewers would expect that her new team of leaders share her commitment towards forming a successful new company.
Ewer’s Personal Power:
The use of personal power that Anne Ewers would use to influence managers is necessary as a positive force for the organization. She will need to enlist the support and empower Keith Lockhart by utilizing what Kreitner & Kinick calls, “referent power.” This power is gained through a leader’s strong personality and relational skills which influences the follower’s loyalty and admiration. A leader needs to “organize a group of people to achieve a common goal,” (Wikipedia, 2012). This power becomes an integral part of a leader’s personal power and plays an important role as the leader needs to collaborate and influence the followers’ support.
Leading by influence has increasingly replaced leading by coercion and control. If Ewers utilizes her referent power, she could influence Keith Lockhart to towards leading the Symphony towards the merger. Ewer’s relationship to Lockhart is one in need of referent power. Ewers has a talent for reducing debt as she retired a $450,000 debt as the general director of the Boston Lyric Opera. She has a knack for fund-raising as well. She could empower Lockhart with these skills as they work side-by-side.
Because Lockhart has the loyalty of those in the symphony, Ewers needs to use referent power in order to secure his commitment. Ewers could have a meeting with Lockhart and promise him the co-leader position in the merger process. He knows the history of the symphony and has the trust of the musicians. She can empower him by helping him to see the benefits of the merger. By appealing to Lockhart and endorsing his support, Ewers has a better chance of diminishing the opposition from the musicians. If she increases in her referent power, then a need for coercion which often necessitates the use of punishment, would decrease.
The symphony musicians have secured through their union, an annual salary between $50,000 and $85,000 which is above the average salary for a musician. Their salaries, benefits, and payroll taxes, were to increase even more over the next two years due to the union’s bargaining agreement. Given an organization change, their salary agreement would be challenged. More than their concern regarding their salaries, they were concerned about the future of their artistic excellence and whether the new organization would support them. They also have a felt need for a successful fund-raising effort, an improved budget strategy for the orchestra, and a strong collective bargaining agreement.
Having the stability provided by the union with a good salary, support for their artistic excellence, and a strong bargaining agreement, the possibility of a merger comes as a more of a threat than as an opportunity for advancement. If Anne does not address the issues which the musicians raised, the organization would not survive on multiple levels. First, with the faltering economy, the orchestra still had a contractual obligation to pay the above average salaries as secured through their union.
The organization would collapse under the financial pressure due to the economy, the high salaries, and the decreased funding for the arts. Second, there needs to be a strong leader with business savvy who could challenge and revise the bargaining agreement of the musicians since their salaries, benefits, and payroll taxes were scheduled to increase even more over a couple years which would push them over the edge financially. Third, the organization is in dire need of a quality leader who would command their respect but who would also hold to the same standards of artistic excellence. The organization is in jeopardy due to a lack of leadership since the CEO of the symphony would be leaving after 2002.
Since the musicians have presented their set of guiding principles through Christine Osborne, the musicians’ chairwoman, Ewers with the support of the board need to provide a response. The support of the musicians in the merging process is paramount to the future of the new organization. The future of the musicians in the newly organized symphony also depends upon Ewer and Lockhart as the future leaders. Ewers has positional power which is legitimate given her authority as the future CEO of the merged organization. The question is how she would utilize her legitimacy. Would she exert a positive or a negative legitimate power? She can use her power as a constructive force to unite the two organizations with a mutual vision for profitability and artistic excellence. Anne could use her referent power to solicit participation in fund-raising efforts. By using her referent power, she can forge a team built on loyalty and commitment.
Given the principles presented by the musicians, Ewers has the opportunity to demonstrate her positive legitimate power, her expert power in fund-raising, and her referent power in fostering commitment. First, Ewers needs to influence the leaders of both the Symphony and the Opera as the legitimate future CEO of the merged organizations. As a leader, she would need to cast her vision for the future and hopefully motivate the support of both organizations. She needs to use her referent power to develop selfconfidence and passion in her managers to lead their subordinates successfully. Secondly, she needs to address the financial implications of a failing organization by coming up with a revised budget which would prevail over the contracting financial resources.
She would need to utilize her fund-raising experience to seek other sources of funding. Though the musicians have an agreement through the union for a certain salary, Anne would need to renegotiate a revised salary and benefits contract for all the performers which would fall within the revised budget. Ewer’s appeal for the musicians’ willingness to take a pay cut would pose a great challenge. However, she may place an emphasis on their self-interest and organizational interest to continue with the new organization. In order to succeed, she needs to utilize a political tactic of striking a balance between the musician’s self-interest with the interests of a new organization.
Third, Anne needs to develop and empower a team of trusted individuals who she could target for specified needs of the merger. As we discussed earlier, the better outcome is to have subordinates who are internally motivated and committed towards the merger. Hopefully, she would develop a base of support by promoting the interest of the whole. Anne would rely on these individuals through “consultation, strong rational persuasion, and inspirational appeal,” influence tactics which we will further explore below (Kreitner & Kinick, 2010).
Research performed in the 1980’s by David Kipnis and his colleagues resulted in him developing nine tactics which could be used in the workplace by managers in order to influence their subordinates (Kreitner & Kinick, 2010). The first tactic is using rational persuasion which utilizes reason, knowledge, or facts to convince someone to comply. Second, a leader can use inspirational appeals to individuals’ emotions, beliefs, and values in order to build enthusiasm. The third tactic is called “consultation” which invites others to participate in the process of planning and decision making. The fourth tactic is to use ingratiation which uses flattery, praise, and friendliness to get individuals in a positive mood prior to making a request. The fifth tactic is to make personal appeals as with a friend.
The sixth tactic is to make an exchange for a personal trade of a favor. The seventh tactic is to form a coalition by asking others to join and support the effort as a group. The eighth and ninth are negative tactics where by one uses pressure or intimidation to demand compliance. The last tactic is make a request (or demand) based on one’s legitimate authority, position, organizational rules, policies, or the support of the boss. The more effective tactics are the former ones since pressure, instillation of fear, or forcing compliance fosters a greater discontent in subordinates and can backfire. Anne Ewers can develop her power in order to synchronize and collaborate a newly established organization.
She can use the influence tactic of inspirational appeal since many of those involved share the goal of wanting an organization which will protect their personal interest of a competitive salary and benefits package. The also want to build an excellent organization which will continue to foster their artistic talents. All involved agree that funding is diminishing and new sources need to be found. Ewers can use rational persuasion as an influence tactic to demonstrate her knowledge and experience in developing an effective fund-raising effort given her background. She could also use the tactic of consultation in order to invite others to join her endeavors. This will also allow her to delegate some of the necessary tasks in order to transition into a new organization.
The task of bringing about a merger between the Utah Symphony Orchestra and Opera will involve the key people with the skills, knowledge and charisma. It will require not only a concerted effort from the board and the identified leaders, namely Anne Ewers and Keith Lockhart. Ewers has proven skills as a fund-raiser and a devoted manager. However, she will need to learn new skills by utilizing her position and power to motivate and influence a teams with different cultures, the community, and challenge the opposition. She realizes that the task is far from easy but she seems to have a handle on the priorities in order to integrate the two organizations.
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