The economic downturn across the United States caused a decrease in funding to performing arts. Thus a proposal to merge the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera companies was made. There have been very few mergers of this type in history. In 1963 the Madison Symphony Orchestra and Madison Opera merged. Also, in 1985, the Chattanooga Opera and Chattanooga Symphony combined. These entities remained combined for a period of time, but ultimately disbanded due to ideologies and methodologies that differed. The Utah Symphony and Utah Opera merger discussion began in December 2001.The cultures of both entities are very different and divergent. This leads to a process to unite the two companies that is a challenging process.
A1. Bill Bailey
Mr. Bailey’s position is to survive the economic downturn and reduced funding currently affecting the performing arts. He holds the position of board chairman for the Utah Opera Organization. Maslow’s hierarchy of need can help Mr. Bailey influence the behavior of those involved in both organizations by appealing to their interests. Human beings have biological and psychological needs. Biological needs are those needed to survive such as food and sleep. Psychological needs are those that provide positive reinforcement to that individual, such as, success and love. Maslow’s hierarchy of need address the physiological, safety, love, esteem and self-actualization needed to influence human behavior on a basic level (Tay & Deiner, 2011). Physiological needs address the desire to find human comfort and reasonable conditions. Safety needs, in regards to work, lead an individual to seek opportunities that provide job security, reasonable compensation, and work conditions that are safe. The love need leads individuals to seek out co-workers to bond with and provide positive daily interactions.
The esteem need provides individuals with positive reinforcement and seek job challenges and promotions to help provide this reinforcement. Finally, the self-actualization need provides the individual the opportunity to participate in decision-making processes and more challenging tasks that may arise. Leaders to motivate individuals can utilize a basic level of Maslow’s hierarchy. The Utah Opera and Utah Symphony both want to continue performing. The economic downturn has affected both entities and Mr. Bailey could appeal to the employees through use of Maslow’s hierarchy. The safety need can be met through continued job security, compensation, and work conditions should a merger go through. The love need or social need could be appealed upon through the use of the same leaders after the merger progresses.
The performers would also have the same peers as before and would expand this peer group. The artistic expression and excellence could be preserved through employment of the same artistic leaders post-merger. This would also help with the self-actualization need, since positive reinforcement would be generated for the members of the musical companies. They would have been involved in the decision-making process and the ideals of keeping leaders that had previously been employed by the entities. This would help the musicians remain autonomy and actively seek challenges out to continue with motivation in the self-actualization arena.
A2. Scott Parker
Mr. Parker is the board chairman of the Utah Symphony. His position is to also survive the economic downturn affecting the performing arts. Mr. Parker must find supporters that are influential and willing to support the merger with the Utah Opera. Mr. Parker has one influential patron who is not willing to lend support for the merger. Mrs. Abravenal does not want the Utah Symphony to lose the prestige that it has found, especially since her husband, Maurice, was maestro of the Utah Symphony for 32 years. Mr. Parker can utilize Alderfer’s ERG Theory for motivation. The ERG Theory steps do not rely on each other to work. The ERG Theory consists of 3 distinct parts: existence, relatedness, and growth (Steel & Konig, 2006). The existence needs are the desire for physiological well-being. The relatedness needs are the desire to develop relationships with others is meaningful. The growth needs are the desire to reach an individual’s full potential. The ERG Theory need for existence and the desire for physiological well being is the main motivator under this theory.
A merger would help the symphony maintain in existence, since they are financially unstable at this time. Mrs. Abravenal can be educated that support from opera supporters will help keep resources available that are not currently available when the entities are separated. The ERG Theory for relatedness need will be a second motivator under this theory. The human desire for meaningful relationships will provide positive reinforcement to those involved. The supporters of both companies do not want to see them fail and disappear.
The passion of the supporters can be utilized and capitalized upon to create a relationship between the two companies. Finally, the ERG Theory for growth needs can provide positive reinforcement for both companies during the merger proposal. The companies are failing separately, but together they could flourish. Resources would be combined and supporters for both would be involved in the growth processes. Mrs. Abravenal could continue her husband’s vision and help keep the symphony alive and flourishing.
The future CEO of the combine entities is Anne Ewers. She has both positional power and personal power. She has formal positional power and has the authority to get things accomplished. Ms. Ewers has a legitimate leader role and expects her orders to be complied with. Positive legitimate power involves influencing others to effectively work better whereas negative legitimate power influences others to follow directions due to intimidation or fear of consequences. Ms. Ewers also has referent power. Referent power is the charisma an individual has from his or her own personality (Krietner & Kinichki, 2010). Effective leaders have charisma that include positional and referent powers. Effectively using the powers together would allow Ms. Ewers to inspire through her own personality and lead by authority.
A3a. Positional Power
Ms. Ewers has a proven record in strengthening finances within an organization. She has been a proven and successful leader for many years within the industry. The following examples are characteristics important in positional power: * Centrality – Ms. Ewers would need to establish communication roles between the symphony and the opera. The central role would be important in the chain of command, since she would control the flow of information to both entities. * Flexibility – Ms. Ewers would need to be able to adapt to frequently to the work environment. She must be ready to be diverse and produce unique ideas regarding the merger.
* Visibility – Ms. Ewers must minimize the negative press surrounding the merger. She must capitalize on positive news regarding the merger and be available to communicate the information to the interested parties. Ms. Ewers must be open and available to those who have a vested interest in the company’s merger. * Relevance – Ms. Ewers must be able to provide accurate information that is relevant to the company’s needs. She must be able to communicate with staff to procure the required information from both companies and prioritize the goal and tasks for both. This should also include integration of the goals and tasks of the merger as well.
A3b. Personal Power
Ms. Ewers will need to use her referent power to influence those involved in the merger. She will need to gain support from Mr. Lockhart to help influence the merger. Ms. Ewers has a proven record of reducing financial obligation of organizations. She can work with Mr. Lockhart, who has the support of the symphony, to help everyone see the benefits of the merger. Ms. Ewers and Mr. Lockhart can be co-leaders during the merger process. This would help decrease the opposition from the musicians currently seen.
A4. Organizational Performance
The musicians for the symphony and orchestra have contracts that were hard fought for. A merger would challenge these agreements and the musicians are concerned they would lose their livelihood and artistic autonomy. Thus, a merger is not viewed positively. The symphony and orchestra both have different cultures. They are both run differently and have different expectations. It is clear they cannot be organized into one entity for simplicity. However, this causes potential issues. For instance, if donations were placed in a singular account for both organizations this could cause resentment among the musicians. Also, the musicians may not like answering to one governing board.
This could lead to feeling unappreciated and resentment. However, should there be two governing boards, both sides would be represented equally and the musicians would feel less resentment and more musical autonomy. The biggest challenge would be among pay for the musicians. The musicians for both entities must be paid competitively and fairly. Options for non-salaried positions may be a viable idea. The organizations must be committed to remain impartial and fair during the merger to reduce any animosity.
Christine Osborne is the chairwoman for the musicians and has presented their guiding principles to Ms. Ewers. The musician support is important to the organization during the merger. The musicians are dependent upon Ms. Ewers and Mr. Lockhart to become the future leaders within the new organization. Ms. Ewers is an authority in the industry and is the future CEO. Ms. Ewers has a proven record of reducing financial liability within organizations in the industry. She has the power to combine the organizations and utilize a singular vision for excellence in financial and artistic realms. She can use the guiding principles set forth by the musicians to demonstrate her desire to see the organization succeed. Ms. Ewers must first use her referent power to influence the leaders of the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera. She will be the future CEO of the newly formed organization and must demonstrate her vision for the future.
This will hopefully provide sufficient motivation to gather support from both entities. Her referent power and vision must continue to provide a passion to the individual management team within the new organization. Ms. Ewer’s passion should extend to all involved and continue within the organization. This passion created within the organization can help develop self-actualization and esteem within all involved. Next, Ms. Ewer will need to focus on the financial stability of the new organization. The economic downturn has decreased the funding to the performing arts. Ms. Ewer will need to address the decreased funding and find additional funding through different avenues. Ms. Ewer is experienced in fund-raising and will be able to promote the organization via this avenue. Also, performer salaries will need to be revised.
The musicians have a current agreement in place, but with the merger this would need to be renegotiated. A challenge Ms. Ewer will face is a decrease in salary for the musicians, but she may be able to effectively place emphasis on the new organization and the musicians desire to see it continue, instead of the old organization failing all together. Finally, Ms. Ewer must put together a management team that will be empowered during the merger. This team must be trustworthy and desire to see the new organization succeed. Ms. Ewer must empower this team to remain pro-active during the merger and to promote the interest of the new organization.
A5. Influence Tactics
Leaders to promote new ideas often use rational persuasion. Rational persuasion relies on knowledge, reason and facts to encourage someone to follow or endorse an idea (Krietner & Kinichki, 2010). Consultation influence is another tactic which allows individuals involved to participate in the decision making process. This gives everyone involved empowerment within the process. Ms. Ewer can utilize consultation influence to involve the musicians in the decision making process and provide empowerment throughout the merger. The decision making process can be enhanced through rationale persuasion.
Ms. Ewer can provide background information on both entities and the precarious financial position both faces. This will provide necessary information to rationalize why a merger would be beneficial to both entities. The information provided can be including Ms. Ewer’s vision for the future of the new organization. Ms. Ewer would provide the information necessary to make an informed decision and empower them throughout the merger process.
The merger between Utah Symphony and Utah Opera requires key individuals be in place that have the knowledge and skills to make it successful. The two boards will need to be pro-active and back leaders Ms. Ewers and Mr. Lockhart. The task will be far from easy, but if prioritized and a determination and passion are unified then the task will be much easier to attain.
Kreitner, R., & Kinicke, A. (2010). Organizational Behavior. 9th Ed., McGraw-Hill Irwin, New York, NY.
Steel, P. & Konig,C. (2006). Integrating theories of motivation. Academy of Management Review 31: 889–91
Tay, L. & Diener, E. (2011). Needs and subjective well-being around the
world. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101(2), 354–365.
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