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The Opera Essay Sample

The Opera Pages
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The necessity to combine the Utah Symphony and the Opera is based on the ever changing environment that supports the arts community. There have been seismic changes in the economic landscape throughout the entire country over the past few years. These changes have created shortfalls and limitations on external funds donated to help fund the arts in and around the Salt Lake Community. Exec. Summary:

You people represent the newly merged boards of the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera. We would like to take some time highlight the strategic goals set forth for the newly formed organization. At the end of this presentation you should have a firm knowledge of each individual company. You will be aware of their strengths, weakness and the differences in their cultures. In addition, you should have an understanding of how the newly formed organization will operate and continue to provide services to the community. Goals for Today:

Explain where each company is on the competing values framework diagram. How this will affect the merger process? Design a mission and vision for the newly formed company that will: * Integrate the process of the two companies

* Reduce the overall expenses as a percentage of profit * Retain key employees
* Maintain audience base for both the opera and the symphony * Identify and pursue synergistic opportunities between the two companies This merger process involves the combining of cultures, operations, administration, staff, leadership, vision, direction, and missions of each organization into one symbiotic entity. When any type of merger takes place it is paramount to evaluate where each individual company values fall in relation to the above depicted Values Framework. To create a synergy between the two companies moving forward we should evaluate where they are in their current state. According to their 2010 book Organizational behavior, Kreiter & Kinicki tell us “That organizational culture is a contextual variable influencing individual, group, and organizational behavior” (p. 65). We have placed the symphony and the opera inside the competing values framework diagram. As is clearly depicted in the slide the Symphony and the Opera are two very different cultures. Let’s examine the unique characteristics that help define each organization. The symphony displays features that are align with Clan culture. First the people that make up the majority of the symphony are the musicians.

The leading organizational feature of the symphony is a culture of a tight knit family. The musicians and the musical director are a family. They practice as one unit, perform as one unit, and make operational decisions for themselves as a family unit. This unit is best described as the musicians union. The Clan culture can be compared to a family-run business. The culture displays, “shared values and goals, cohesion, participation, individuality, and a sense of we-ness” (Cameron & Quinn, 1999, p. 36). The symphony is driven by Clan culture features, such as togetherness, shared vision, commitment to goals, and achievements. Clan culture employees will often take a cut in wages to maintain highly regarded and respected relationships that pay dividends in altruistic fashion. The focus for the symphony is an inward alignment. The symphony knows that to achieve its goals of being one of the top symphony’s they must attract, cultivate, and retain the highest talented musicians. In addition these musicians must buy-in-to the Clan culture that has been established by the symphony. There will some flexibility for the people of the symphony and they will be lead by leaders like the musical director; that are constantly being supportive and fathering a learning environment. A company culture is shaped by many variables.

The direction, the vision, the strategy, and the stakeholders all play relevant roles in creating a company’s culture. According to the competing values framework the symphony displays characteristics that are line with that of a clan (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2010). The symphony has a full-time staff of 33 people and a union of 83 salaried musicians. The symphony culture is one of unified cooperation by the musicians. The power of their union is a very important characteristic of their culture. The musicians union has the ability to cease operations at the symphony if they choose to strike. The union maintains itself as a close knit unit and relies on their Lockhart to make them perform at their highest level. The symphony culture has a family feel between the musicians. The symphony wants to be recognized as one of the premier units in all. In keeping with the characteristics of clan to accomplish this goal they are trying to develop talent from the inside and maintain the great musicians that they have. The union empowers their people by holding meetings and updating them on aspects of the symphony. The communication of symphony is directed internally and seeks to have members of the union in agreement with the direction of the organization.

The symphony takes their musical performance direction from the musical director, but takes the overall direction of the symphony is made by the board of directors and Scott Parker. This members of the symphony are loyal and show respect for their organization by playing over 200 nights a year in various formats. There is a real team effort in the Clan culture. When we examine how the symphony falls into the competing values framework we can see that they are more in-line with an internal focus and integration. The symphony is less concerned with competition of others and choses to focus on the growth and sustainability inside the organization. The symphony is less influenced by the surrounding environment. By looking at the CVF we see that the symphony takes its direction in a flexible and discretionary manner. As we discussed early this fact is represented that the employees (musicians) are empowered to make decisions about the operations of the symphony. In looking at how the Opera fits into the CVF we see that they have characteristics that are consistent with a Market Culture. The Opera unlike the symphony is limited to 3 to 5 performances a year.

This sets the stage for a fundamental difference in the two organizations. The Opera has a permanent staff of 23 relying on contract employees to fill the required spots for the chosen performances. In a market culture there is a concentration of an external focus and differentiation. The Opera and Anne Ewers concentrates on developing outside relationships to gain funding for the Opera. In addition a market culture has to respond to changes in the market. The Opera has to fill the needs and requests of the patrons that attend their performances. The Opera is constantly competing to get the best talent and performers to showcase at the few performances that they have a year. A market culture pays close attention to its audience and customers. The Opera is always taking a poll of their audience to ask how they are doing and how they can do better. Adjustments are made to increase their reach. In a market culture the organization is profitable and consistently reaches their goals. The Opera has increased their profits over the past few years and is the envy of many other like organizations. The Opera has set goals for themselves to increase the number and variety of performances in the coming year.

The Opera is willing to experiment with new ideas and items to accomplish the goals that they have set for themselves, this includes new fundraising techniques. Looking at CVF the Opera is in the lower right quadrant. The Opera is focused on its customers and making sure that they are being a profitable organization. These characteristics help define them as a market culture. In addition the Opera is really led by one person and that is Anne Ewers. She is tasked with making all the operational decisions. The power and direction of an organization that is done by one person is another defining characteristic for a market culture. Decisions are made by a few not many. At first glance of the organizational chart for the Symphony we notice that there a board of directors and the chairman of the board is Scott Parker. Mr. Parker distributes his direction and vision down through the now vacant position of a president/ceo, and to the musical director Keith Lockhart. The distribution of authority in the symphony according to the organizational chart is divided into 2 sections. There is the operational side that deals with marketing, finance, communications, and development; while the other division is where the “music happens,” meaning the large union of musicians. When we look at the Opera we see that the like the Symphony there is a Board and a chairman. Then we see that Anne Ewers is listed as the General Director.

The distribution of authority of authority for the symphony seems to be broken up into two arenas. There is the operational area that is headed up by the now vacant president/CEO. Then there are directors in charge of finance, marketing, development. This personnel then has more people underneath them to accomplish tasks. Then there is the Music Director Keith Lockhart; he oversees the artistic administrator and all things that have to do with the actual conducting of the symphony. The two companies differ drastically in the distribution of authority in the number of employees tasked to the jobs at hand. The Opera has only 23 full-time employees while the symphony has 33 full-time staff and then 83 musicians. There are more people in that have to be given tasks down the line at the Symphony than the Opera. The Opera has Anne as the General Director and then five department managers underneath her that are tasked with operational items. We must make a note of the power and influence that the musicians union has over the distribution of authority in Symphony. The musicians have the ability to stop all performances if they choose to strike. They have the ability to influence authority decisions and regulate the distribution of power in the Symphony.

The musicians union can influence many aspects of the symphony. The two organizations have different ways of making decisions. In the symphony the musicians union votes on many items that influence how decisions get made in the symphony. They have the power to control performances. They are able to make demands through voting as union and letting the union leaders speak with Keith Lockhart. Lockhart is tasked with taking the demands and needs of the musicians to the management team for the symphony. There is a diffusion between the management team and the musicians when making decisions for the symphony. The musicians don’t make decisions on when they will play and for who they will play. They don’t make decisions on ticket sales and brochures. They are not concerned with decisions on fundraising and customer relationships. All of those decisions are made by the management team of the symphony. In contrast the management team headed up by Anne Ewers is completely involved in the decision process for tickets, performances, fundraising, and community responses.

Anne might be the General Director on paper but her influence and decision making reaches to all aspects of the Opera. Case in point she is looking at fabric for costumes for the upcoming Othello performance (Delong & Anger, 2005). Anne is responsible for most of the decision making and she leads others to be able to carry out the decisions that she has made. There is a large difference in the impact the decision making has on the two separate entities. Decision making for the Opera is geared around operations that will sustain the financial success of the Opera. Many decisions are made by Anne in an effort to maximize the fundraising for the Opera. In addition, the selected performances are decided in part because the revenues generated will exceed the cost to perform the Opera. Decision making in and around the Symphony is far less done by profitability. The symphony has decisions made around exposure and in coordination with other artistic events to accompany their performance. The symphony differs from the Opera because the musicians have a great deal of power in making decisions for the symphony. Decisions inside the symphony are often made by a vote.

The majority vote by the musicians will determine the decision they have made as a group. When decisions are made at the symphony they must be then approved by the leadership team. Often times a need for compromising will arise to make sure that decisions that have been made by the musicians union do not lead to a strike. There is more give and take in decision making for the symphony than the opera. To maintain the audience of the Opera and the Symphony the marketing team will create flyers and news releases talking about the future of the arts in and around the City. Include why this needed to happen and how positive it is for the city and the arts community. Furthermore, Anne Ewers will hold a gala for all patrons of two art forms and have a fundraiser for the newly formed company. She will encourage the seating to be mix matched with Opera fans and symphony fans so that interactions between the patrons can take an organic feeling. Tickets will be given away to people so they can experience the newly formed company.

To identify synergistic opportunities for the two companies there must be a newly formed committee of 5 with leadership from both companies represented. It might be a bad idea to have this committee meet with consultant and talk about the opportunities that have now been created because of the merged organizations. Bringing someone in from the outside will send the message that neither side is trying to control the future of the company. The consultant will be unbiased and present opportunities that he feels will be best for not the individual companies but the newly formed company. It is imperative that as a leader Anne examines and plans for the different groups she will be talking to. According to Mary Munter the author of Guide to Managerial Communication: Effective Business Writing and Speaking, “Audience strategy includes answering four sets of questions: (1) Who are they? (2) What do they know? (3) What do they feel? (4) How can you persuade them”(p.6)? The first strategy that Anne should incorporate is what is the objective of my message (p.5)? Once she has created a general overall objective she should then narrow the discussion down and convey a target-specific message to each of the groups. For the Opera contractors most likely they do not have much information about what is going on.

Anne’s strategy should understand that these are contract employees and they do no need much information. She can explain that there is a merger and that things are changing and she will keep them posted on the changes via email. Once Anne has established the object both general and specific, then she will have to decide on a style to communicate. For the Opera Contractors the best style would be the “tell/sell” style (Munster p.6).In this style the communicator does not want the audience’s input, feedback, or discussion. In this style Anne will be communicating to am trying to contract employees how things are going to be changing because of the merger. Anne will be in control of this discussion and will start the conversation and decide when it is over. Chances are the contractors will show some interest in the message but they have no real input as the content of the communication. In contrast to the Opera contractors Anne will want to use the “consult/join” style (Munster p.6), when talking with the Orchestra employees. This communication style encourages feedback and discussion. Anne will most likely want to gather input and opinions from the orchestra employees and address their concerns. Anne understands the value of the musicians and values their input.

She will want to communicate in an open welcoming fashion to the orchestra. This message from Anne is very important to the audience and most of them will show interest and create a discussion from the communication. Anne’s strategy with the orchestra must be conscious of the fact these people are the life line of the symphony. They will be very interested in the message and want answers from her. Anne’s strategy will have to be aware that the orchestra members deserve more information than the contract employees. In addition, Anne should have empathy for the musicians about the change that is in front of them and be sympathetic to their concerns but communicate the value of this newly formed company. When communicating with each group Anne should be aware of what each audience expects from her. The level of expectation will be greater form the orchestra than the Opera contractors. I. Make sure that the message is well thought out ahead of time. Anne should lead out with the stated conclusion of the message.

Then spend the time communicating and supporting the message. The message should be that we are a stronger organization with you people involved. We value the contributions that you make and want to make encourage your success. Telling them that with their success comes the success of the newly formed company. II. Once Anne has started the message she can work on delivering a message that will want the people to stay on-board. She can explain that they help the arts community survive. She can tell the orchestra that benefit the community and show young people that music has a place in society. She could stress the fact that the orchestra is an example to many people and that the musicians are role models to many. III. Anne can highlight the stability of the new company. She can talk about how she is personally responsible for bringing the Opera from operating in red to the black, with a large reserve endowment. Anne can appeal to the contractors heart strings and state how they are role models for young people everywhere.

Anne should stroke their confidence and say that the show can’t go on without your hard work. IV. Finally Anne can talk about herself in more detail. She can let them know that she is on their side and she is advocate for the arts. She takes this role and job very serious and plans to increase the budgets for both the opera contractors and orchestra members. She can persuade them by letting them know about future fundraising efforts and explain how successful she has been in that arena. Anne is a power house with lots of connections, she could explain that it would be foolish for any personnel not to embrace this change, because this change has nothing but the arts best interest in mind V. The merger of any two companies requires many hours of combining. A merger combines everything from cultures to office furniture. When two companies merge there are many avenues to explore that will help streamline operations in the newly formed company. VI. After the companies have merged we must make plans to help us reach our strategic goals. The first technology tool that we recommend is the installation of an Enterprise resource planning (ERP) tool.

ERP system is able to operate, coordinate, and schedule operations across multiple databases and platforms (Wikipedia, 2012). In other words all departments are able to communicate with one another. Finance and Accounting databases and spreadsheets can be read and used by the marketing department. The marketing department databases and applications can interact and work seamless with the customer database. Both the Opera and the Symphony have been operating on several different databases and platforms that have complicated operations for each. VII. Implementing an ERP system will immediately impact the strategic goals for the organization. First the business practices of the two companies will now be under inside and under one system. We will be able to merge all departments data including: personnel data, Human Resources, Finance, Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Marketing, Education, Licensing, Facilities, Risk Management, Benefits, Health Insurance, and project management.

The ERP would be able to create timetables and budgets for new performances. The ERP system could keep track of all personnel hours and we could perform analysis to see how we are finically. VIII. Companies that merge must combine one of the most important assets which is their audience. A CRM or Customer Relationship Management tool is a dynamic software program that keeps track of all your audience members data. Our newly formed company will want to increase their exposure to the arts community and track the success that they are having with marketing material and this tool will allow you to that.

This software will decrease our costs of managing several different databases. In addition this tool will be able to place all the names of all the customers of each organization into it. This tool will become a powerful marketing tool for the newly formed company. We will be able to create multiple databases of our customers to solicit them when we have performance that they have identified as one of interest for them. This tool is about increasing efficiency and decreasing man hours.

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