Turning a failing organization around

Essay by grimesyUniversity, Bachelor's July 2004

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Turning a failing organization around is one of the most interesting activities in

management. When organizations see themselves in that downward spiral, their managers may

feel that they are unable to stop the pace of negative change. That worry and that downward

momentum can be very powerful. At the same time, it sometimes takes only a key impetus to

deflect that movement and turn things around.

Consider the following example from another "industry


LEAD STORY-DATELINE: The New York Times, February 20, 2002.

The last decade has been difficult for many major metropolitan orchestras in the U.S.

Through most of the 20th century, orchestras, along with art museums and opera companies,

were at the center of the cultural life of big cities. The 1990s were a time of considerable

strain for the orchestra industry, which was faced with declining audiences, changing tastes,

and technologies that offer substitutes for live performance.

Especially in the late 1990s,

orchestras in cities like Denver, Hartford, and New Orleans all faced life threatening, and even

in some cases, terminal crises. In 2001, the St. Louis Symphony was facing such a crisis. Its

long-time musical director had retired; it was losing money year after year; a referendum to

provide more public financing to cultural organizations failed; public and corporate support was

declining; the musicians were requesting substantial pay raises in their collective bargaining;

and unlike other major orchestras, the St. Louis Symphony had not built up a significant

endowment that could generate a stream of investment income.

First paragraph summary:

Orchestras "were" at the center of the cultural life most of the 20th century - that changed with consumer tastes

90s were a time of "strain"

o declining audiences = declining sales or business

o changing tastes = loss in market share

o technologies...