Does theatre form a special case in the application of management techniques?

Core text:  Morgan, Gareth: Images of Organisation Sage 1998
“Organisations and organisational problems can be seen and understood in many different ways.  Limit your seeing and your thinking and you limit your range of action.  Limit your range of action and you limit your effectiveness.” p299
Other management texts may be found around 658 in the Dewey library classification.In terms of the following topics:
• Scientific management (p 17ff)
• Open Systems (p 40ff)
• Learning organisations (p 76ff)
• Organisational culture (p 111ff)
• Politics within organisations (p 152ff)
• Psychology in the workplace (p 192ff)
• Managing change (p 214ff)
• Metaphor (p 319ff)
(Page references are to the core text)

Analysing the question –
Does theatre form a special case in the application of management techniques?
Theatre – what do we mean?
Management techniques – with reference to what?
Application – theory and practice, role of research?
Special case – Does it apply or are we special?

The question in terms of the approaches:

1 Scientific management
• Organisations as ‘machines’
• fixed division of tasks
• hierarchical supervision
• detailed rues and regulations
• Max Weber
• ‘Taylorism’ – Frederick Winslow Taylor
• Sole managerial responsibility
• Precise job design
• Select train and monitor
• Hierarchical pattern

2  Open Systems (Contingency Model)
• System that interacts with its environment – ‘Organic’ – see Burns & Stalker
• Self regulating – (‘Homeostasis’)
• ‘Negative entropy’ (closed systems deteriorate)
• System should be as diverse as its environment – (‘Requisite variety’) see Lawrence & Lorsch
• Many ways of getting to the same end (‘Equifinality’ )
• See also Mintzberg – variety of species

Subsystems
Organisational Characteristics
3  Learning organisations
• (Negative) Feedback systems
• Sense, monitor & scan environment
• relate information to operating norms
• detect significant deviations from norms
• initiate corrective action on detection
• ‘Learning to learn’
• Argyris, Schön: reflective practice;
• Peter Senge: learning organisations
• TQM – total quality management

Peter Senge and personal mastery
• People with a high level of personal mastery live in a continual learning mode. They never ‘arrive’. Sometimes, language, such as the term ‘personal mastery’ creates a misleading sense of definiteness, of black and white. But personal mastery is not something you possess. It is a process. It is a lifelong discipline. People with a high level of personal mastery are acutely aware of their ignorance, their incompetence, their growth areas. And they are deeply self-confident. Paradoxical? Only for those who do not see the ‘journey is the reward’. (Senge 1990: 142)
Double loop learning

4  Organisational culture
Knowledge, ideology, values, laws, rituals.
• “Japanese organisations combine the cultural values of the rice field with the spirit of service of the samurai”
• “Progress and development can be realised only through the combined efforts and cooperation of each memebr of the company.  Each of us therefore shall keep this idea constantly in mind as we devote ourselves to the continuous improvement of our Company” – Matsushita company philosophy, cited by Pascale & Athos
• “British factory workers have traditionally defined themselves in opposition to a system they perceive as having exploited their ancestors as it now exploits them.” p118

Organisational cultures
• Observing cultural differences
• Promoting culture through stories, legends, myths
• The influence of values and leadership style
• Influence of gender, status groups, ethnicity
• Counter-cultures
• Coalitions of internal political interest
• Trade union action
• Rule following or enactment? – see Garfinkel
• Creating a culture

5  Politics within organisations
Management styles:
• Autocratic – do it this way
• Bureaucratic – we’re supposed to do it this way
• Technocratic – this way’s best
• Democratic – how shall we do it?
Organisations as coalitions
• Conflict resolution
• Power relations

6  Psychology in the workplace
Organisation and the unconscious
• “The past is seen as living in the present through the unconscious, often in ways that create distorted and uncomfortable relations with the world” p187
• Freud: channelling infantile (sexual) desire. (See also Bernays and marketing)
• Patriarchy and the illusion of control
• Anxiety and defence mechanisms – Melanie Klein
• Dependency
• Pairing
• Fight/flight
• Jung, archetypes and personality
Some Freudian terms

7  Managing change
Four logics of change:
• ‘Autopoesis’ – internal change is self-generated rather than a response to environment – self image
• evolving identity
• Complexity (chaos) theory! – Small changes can produce large effects
• Strain and tension from circular relations – Loops not lines
• Product of dialectical tension between opposites

Decision loops
Managing paradoxes

8  Innovation
Creative destruction?
• Routine vs innovative work
• “To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk” – Thomas Edison
• “The question is not what you look at but what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau
from Robert I Sutton: Weird ideas that work.  11½ ways to promote manage and sustain innovation.
The Art of Judgement – Geoffrey Vickers
• Reality judgements
• Action judgements
• Value judgements
…… and finally:

8  Theories as metaphors
• “Understanding ultimately rests in the ability to recognise how many different phenomena are really part of a coherent whole. (citing Werner Heisenberg) … When we realise that all organisational theories are just metaphors, we tackle organisational problems from new perspectives.  Theories become building blocks, not fixed answers.” p 320
• “The challenge of using multiple readings is to convert them into a story-line that can help us deal with the complexity” p308
Morgan’s four ‘messages’
• Mobilise new ways of seeing.  Be aware of the constant link between theory and practice.
• Develop capacities that will help you evolve with new challenges
• Remember you are an ‘author’ as well as a ‘reader’ of organisational life
• Imaginise!!! Don’t just organise.