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