The management bit – a few notes

Organisational patterns:
Hierarchical structures describe chains of command/reporting/ responsibilities. Eg Rep theatre model. Usually pyramidal; decisions, based on information flow upwards, are taken at the appropriate level, then communicated down There are also ‘flattened’ hierarchies, where decisions tend to be made lower down the chain and there is cross-department negotiation.

Quality circle approach describes team responsibilities, and communication chains. ?eg Fringe theatre model. On the basis of this we could suggest theatre as an activity consists of four broad teams: artistic, technical, admin/FoH, and performers, whose activities need to be co-ordinated by us.

(See also notes on politics and sources of authority.)

Contingency theory
“Contingency theory simply states that the structure and methods of working in an organisation are a function of the circumstances in which it exists” (Armstrong 1990)

Action theory model (Silverman 1990 ): External and internal environment factors impact on managerial plans and structure +systems; together they all impact on organisational performance.

Our management style, therefore, should relate to the thing being managed.. One description of stage management is that it is all the jobs that none of the specialists want! Our specialism, therefore, is as interpreters between specialists, understanding their various languages, and occcasionally being able to undertake the roles.

Descriptions of stage management functions also vary according to scale: a large organisation will have more specialists, so SM’s will do less and communicate more. In a very small outfit, they may be doing everything, including selling tickets and drinks.
Management by objectives (MbO)
Developed by Peter Drucker, this is a relatively simple way of objectifying work load. Rather than saying ‘What must I do?’ ones poses the question ‘What am I trying to achieve?’

Aims: The direction one wants to go

Objectives: Planned measurable achievements

Tom Peters talks of MBWA – management by walking about, since that is the only way to find out what is actually happening. Also you make yourself available for people to let you know of difficulties.
If we are trying to be innovative – produce something new – then by definition we cannot know what it is that we are managing – it has not yet been created. All we can do is:

  • Create the right conditions for creativity
  • Expect the unexpected
  • Use intuition as to what might happen, but not be surprised when it’s something different
  • Be tolerant of change of plan – strategies are different to tactics.
  • Plan when to cut our losses if it doesn’t happen.

Last modified: Sunday, 6 July 2008, 09:12 PM