Managing Musically: How Acoustic Space Informs Management Practice

Why is a management team like a symphony orchestra?

It’s not a riddle, it’s an article published in the ever-inquisitive Journal of Management Inquiry by Ralph J. Bathurst of Massey University and Lloyd P. Williams of the Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design:

This article explores the notion of management as an acoustic phenomenon and approaches this through examining musical performance, especially how symphony orchestra musicians develop musicianship, achieve ensemble, and work together in relationship with the conductor. We explore these ideas under the rubric of “managing musically” and offer as a comparison Captain Holly Graf being relieved of her position commanding the U.S.S. Cowpens. Managing musically implies becoming sensitized to gestural nuances within the environment and among team members.

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