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Pawan Bhansing

Business in the performing arts: Dual executive leadership and organizational performance


The obvious particularity of the art business is that it comprises of art and business. This simple fact has many consequences, some of which are explored in this thesis. This thesis focuses on the tensions between art and business, especially for the managers of organizations in the cultural industries: some people, for example, are more likely to say that the art business is business and art rather than art and business.

The core object of study is dual executive leadership specifically within subsidized performing arts organizations. Dual executive leadership means that there are two hierarchically-equivalent managers at the top of the organization. In the cultural industries the most common form of this structure is the one in which the organization is run by one artistic or creative executive and one business or commercial executive. In this way, the art-business dichotomy is explicitly incorporated into the organizational structure. This does not, however, necessarily mean that the person occupying the role of artistic executive is all art and the one occupying the role of business executive is all business. This thesis specifically explores the extent to which the individuals occupying these roles think differently about their environment, how these differences affect organizational performance and how they even affect the perception of performance of their own organization by the managers themselves. It also shows how the managers handle the tensions of the art-business dichotomy and takes a more external perspective on organizational performance by studying the way in which perceptions of other parties affect organizational performance.