Many organizations began as a singular vision of an individual. Someone identifies a market deficiency, impassioned purpose, or perhaps a new technology. Whatever that catalyst has been, these individuals decide to devote their efforts to the idea and create a company or organization that seeks to work towards this vision. However, what occurs when the founding individual steps away and the organization remains? This is the question explored in a case study created by Terri Patkin entitled, “Discord at the Music School” (Patkin, 2007). In this study, the protagonist, Carole, becomes the new director of the Bow-strings Music School, replacing the revered founder, Wendy. This story chronicles Carole’s experiences of frustration and ineffectiveness during her early directorship. The story ends as Carol reflects upon her present situation. After a public repudiation by faculty, staff, and board members, she finds herself searching for answers. This article seeks to illuminate Carol’s mistakes as well as offer applicable solutions. This reader asserts that Carole’s failure derives from her misunderstanding of the culture of Bow-string Music School as well as her inability to effectively implement and communicate her vision.
To begin, Carol failed to understand the culture of the organization that she began to manage. As mentioned by Patkin, Carole began with the assumption that the Bow-string Music School’s culture was comparable to other Suzuki Method music schools (Patkin, 2007). However, after further exploration, she found that this was not the case. Furthermore, when Carole discovered the inconsistency she failed to adapt to it. In a sense, culture defines an organization. According to Joanne Martin, one conception of culture i...
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...in her role as manager, she is performing. All the other phases lead to the performance. This is where Carol must put everything together and dictate what the parents and staff perceive. However, her work is not done after the town hall. She must constantly remind herself that her role requires her to perform.
Replacing the founder of an organization can be very hard. Carol experienced this hardship and, now, finds herself at a crossroads. Her next steps dictate if she can regain the trust of her constitutes. Carol failed to understand the culture of the Bow-string Music School. This failure, consequently, impacted her ability to navigate and modify the culture. If she follows the above mentioned steps, then she will have the ability to manage from stable ground. Communication is key within organizations. Managers who do not heed this fact do so at their own ruin.
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