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Zarządzanie Kulturą, tom 6 (2013), nr 2 / Culture Management, vol. 6 (2013), no. 2

Monika Kostera1 (University of Warsaw, University of Leeds) HELICON PLC, OR: ART, MANAGEMENT AND INSPIRATION

Keywords: art in management, art of management, organizational aesthetics, organizational imagination, narrative collage, text analysis, systems thinking Abstract: The recent years witnessed a vigorous development of a strand in management studies dedicated to the art enterprise. The management of art and culture organizations demands a different approach than is represented by mainstream economic methods. At the same time, a broad turn in management studies, regarding management itself as an art, has been gaining popularity. This paper uses narrative methods to explore the domain of imagination in order to throw a light upon the relationships between art and management in a broader cultural context.

When I was a visiting lecturer teaching management at the Warsaw Academy of Art, I initially encountered a complete rejection of the subject by my students. For them, the term “management” was associated with aggressive incomprehension of art, with ideology ordering them to renounce what they believed in and what was central to their value system. Later on, with real astonishment, they discovered that it is not necessary at all and that, on the contrary, there exists a humanistic perspective in management where the system of values they represent is not only accepted but respected and esteemed . That particular group of students, learned to appreciate management and to understand that it did not have to be foreign or hostile to what they were engaged in. During the remaining part of our classes, we were talking mainly about what can do together to mutual advantage of humanistic management and art. But is it always like this when Art meets Management? I am particularly interested in what such a meeting looks like within the space of imagination (Kostera, 2014) because this is from that space that inspiration for change, innovation, renewal and creation of new ideas and structures derives. Art of Management In recent years a turn in management connected with art enterprises has been developing and thriving. In his book devoted to art management, Dag Björkegren (1992) defines the art enterprise as an organisation which commercially takes advantage of a certain kind of experience called art. High uncertainty is characteristic of this activity; therefore, the possibility of control is limited. One may try to govern it either on commercial basis, which is relatively simple but fatal for art, or on terms dictated by art itself, which is complicated and not very profitable – but creative. Within the scope of the art of management turn, several authors present different art enterprises and show how they are managed and what consequences there are of the different approaches to their management. Dag Björkegren (1994) shows the trials and tribulations of a film enterprise indicating typical traps and 1

The research leading to these results has received funding from the People Programme (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under REA grant agreement no 627429.


Zarządzanie Kulturą, tom 6 (2013), nr 2 / Culture Management, vol. 6 (2013), no. 2 problems which the organisation must tackle with. Niina Koivunen (2003) describes a different case of art enterprise – a symphony orchestra, where uncertainty is, if possible, even higher than in visual media. The effects are very difficult to measure and compare, and the artistic assessment is complicated and possible to be carried out only by a small group of experts. Managing such an organisation requires knowledge within the area, a profound respect for it and, at the same time, organisational skills. Katja Lindqvist (2003) in concerned with managing art exhibitions as ephemeral although all in all rather repetitive enterprises. She suggests that there is a need to cooperate with the environment, such as the media, as well as to get in touch with the public, while not losing the connection with art itself. Art should inspire to see the world anew, to think and envisage new vistas. Roman Batko and Robert Kotowski (2010) present the case study of one of the big Polish museums and show how important the contact with the environment is, especially with the visitors. The museum has undergone a deep process of changes during the last years and, as a result, it has been involved in the establishment of permanent relations with the environment, without losing its identity. The etymology of the word museum derives from the word Muse, not coincidentally, and so, the museum is by definition “a place which is open to exchange of ideas, inspiration, sensation and experience for everybody” (p.62). Bogusław Nierenberg (2011) proposes a humanistic systems approach to mass media management. The media are presented as an ambiguous, multifaceted kind of organisation characterised by high uncertainty. Managing media cannot be a reductionist endeavour and must take into consideration not only their specificity but also their place in the environment. Therefore, the systems approach, which is holistic by nature, is particularly suitable for conceptualisation and practice of such management. In a text based on autoethnographic research, Michał Zawadzki (2013) presents the process of organising undertaken by musicians as a dynamic, non-linear process, which requires dealing with enormous uncertainty not only in the environment, but also in the musicians’ mutual relations. The uncertainly is also inherent in the core of their work – the creation of music. All the authors show how much the knowledge and practice of management in art enterprises differs from mainstream management textbooks, especially with regards to uncertainty and to the ability to balance different perspectives and the logic of acting. There is often great creative potential hidden in these contradictions and clashes, which is the reason for individual interest and attention and which also appeals to management authors searching for inspiration in art. Management as art Antonio Strati (1999) claims that conventional management learning refers to art in a one-sided and simplistic way, concentrating on their rational and financial side but omitting the aesthetic aspect of human life. According to the author, it is necessary for management to strive for the knowledge to art in order to restore balance in management. Pierre Guillet de Mounthoux (1993) argues that management theorists and practitioners should strive for contact with art in order to liberate themselves from a reductionist fixation on economic and financial aspects and to a broader approach to management and organisation, including such issues as: customer, producer, and product. We are not able to understand management without understanding art. We will not comprehend economic growth without the aesthetic perspective. (ibid., s. 1)

Managers should use the advantages that art offers management, they should visit museums and galleries, learn from art, draw from it extensively – because management is creative in its essence, it is “a journey in aesthetic space” (ibid., s. 4). Management, understood this way, is a drive away from things commonplace and mundane and towards what is possible.


Zarządzanie Kulturą, tom 6 (2013), nr 2 / Culture Management, vol. 6 (2013), no. 2 Research in the imaginative space An individual inhabits many different spaces, which each has its own rules and laws, as well as characteristic features. The spaces include intersubjective domains such as physical or biological spaces, as well as inwards domains such as spiritual and imaginative spaces (more on this subject in: Kostera, 2014). The last one is sometimes the object of interest of social studies because the activities within it may have some significant intersubjective effects: cultural, sociological, organisational, etc. C. Wright Mills’ (1959) well-known concept of sociological imagination concerns an ability to think beyond the current structures and cultural institutions, offering a hope for liberation for the individual, as well as the possibility to transcend social structures and to understand the relations between the individual and the societal. For an individual person everyday life is obvious; and so the everyday life experience does not teach us to solve structural problems. Sociological imagination lets a person go beyond these limitations. The activity in the domain of imagination allows, then, transcending the limits of what is understandable, available, possible, and helps to distinguish between individual and collective aspects of processes and phenomena. It also offers a moral sense – without imagination, empathy is not possible, as Zygmunt Bauman affirms (2011). Imagination helps to overcome moral disorientation and the feeling of meaninglessness, because it facilitates seeing broader social contexts and oneself as its active and responsible part. For Bauman, as well as for Mills, sociological imagination is a skill which is social as well as political and moral. Karl Weick (2001) adds organisational and managerial aspects: he emphasises the importance of imagination in sensemaking on the meso level. Organisations are managed by people, and are processes collectively structured by the making sense of the participants’ actions. Sensemaking takes place within the imaginative space and so, research undertaken in this space is vital to our understanding of how such processes occur. I have proposed the narrative collage (Kostera, 2006) as a possible method suitable for such research. It consists in collecting fictive stories created by respondents or authors (there are other possible variants of the method using other media, e.g. music or images; Nilson, 2009). A researcher asks the respondents to illustrate a given topic or to finish a narrative beginning with an introductory sentence offered by the researcher. The authors have an opportunity to create additional characters aside from these mentioned in the first sentence, they decide in what direction the story will unfold, they create plots and context. When the story collection is completed, the researcher interprets the material and arranges it into a collage. Next, the researcher presents his or her narrative interpretation, showing what new light it casts on the cultural context present in the imaginative space. In the present paper, my intention was to explore the deeper levels of culture, looking for archetypical stories. By archetypes, Carl Gustav Jung (1968) meant deep patterns resembling a riverbed which may hold images created in the process of symbolisation. Archetypes are constructs which manifest themselves in common patterns including hidden images of any human motivation and inspiration (Kostera, 2007). Archetypical stories make use of archetypes as theme, plot or elements of the context and have particularly profound importance for the way in which people make sense of culture by supporting imagination and inspiring to search for entirely new ideas and perspectives while referring to familiar and well-recognisable constructs (Kostera, 2010). The narrative collage belongs to the currently very popular narrative perspective (e.g. Czarniawska, 2004; 1999; Czarniawska & Guillet de Monthoux, 1994; Gabriel, 2000). For the purpose of this text, I collected stories starting with a sentence: The Muses arrived for the December board meeting on Helicon from 9 people from Poland. The authors are: researchers within the area of humanities and social sciences (5), a writer and a translator (1) students (3). There are 5 women and 4 men. The stories were written in Polish. My interpretation of the collage is inspired by Roman Ingarden’s phenomenological mode of reading texts (1960), according to which a text needs to be read on a several levels in order to present different strata of meanings and symbols. I have found three interesting levels: the level of the narrative, meaning, and roots to metaphor.


Zarządzanie Kulturą, tom 6 (2013), nr 2 / Culture Management, vol. 6 (2013), no. 2

The meeting of the Muses’ on Mount Helicon The level of the narrative The collected stories often spin a tale of crisis, and describe the meeting of the Muses as taking place in a moment of dramatic conflict between the economic and artistic sphere. The situation is slightly different in four of the stories, where the crisis also appears, but it is one-dimensional. Only in one story the crisis is not the main plot (albeit it appears in the background). It worth noticing that the crisis motif was not suggested by the researcher and not included in the first sentence. It comes entirely from the authors. The Muses respond to the threat in a variety of ways. In Roman Batko’s story, one Muse, Kalliope, has the idea how to solve the problem, which earlier had appeared to be hopeless. “We shouldn’t try to fight them with their own weapon.” Kalliope said “Let us be ourselves, don’t pretend that we want to be just like Hermes’ company, because we are not like that! Let’s visit these ones whose voice is still resounding – public intellectuals, some open-minded politicians and artists. Involve our adopted sisters – Film and Television, so the message can reach people. Frankly speaking, we haven’t been so eager to give them inspiration in the recent years.” (Roman Batko)

In Bartosz Sławecki’s story, the situation also appears sombre, the Muses are distracted and cheerless. The silence was interrupted by Melete. “I don’t believe that it’s all over. They need us, don’t they? I understand that money is important but come on! They now have something to eat and a place to live in. I always believed they’d turning to art, especially now when they have more free time and less work. And yet they still go on about the same stuff: unemployment, cash. Tragic.” (Bartosz Sławecki)

Nobody proposes any ideas to change the state of affairs. However, the dynamics of the meeting itself alters its contents. “Precisely!” Aoede cried, roused from sombre thoughtfulness, “Tragic! I will create new tragedy – a tragedy in which people will confront an insurmountable enemy, who will lead them to an eventual defeat – the economic crisis… But this is nonsense!” she said after a while, “This does not need to be created it’s happening right now.” […] “Let’s stop arguing!” Mneme said, “When they hit the bottom, then I’ll remind them about everything they miss. I’ll unearth their most precious memories and longings. Give them a moment. Let them talk about unemployment and the lack of money. A few days ago, I saw a small group of railway workers on strike. After the strike, they went for a coffee to one of their friends. First they complained some, and them someone reached for a guitar and started to sing. Children gathered in the twinkling of an eye. Women started to smile and blush. After a while, one couple started to dance. And a few minutes later they completely stopped thinking about their problems.” “So, what are we to do? Wait?” Aoede said. “Yes” Mneme confirmed. She stood up quickly and without saying goodbye she ran out of the room. “Probably she’s just recalled something…” Melete said lost in reverie. “Definitely. I’m sorry, I was nasty to you.” Aoede smiled and hugged her sister. “No, it’s for me to say sorry. Let’s go and find Aoede. I want to listen to her poems.” (Bartosz Sławecki)

Aneta Milarczyk describes commercialisation, promoted by the two new Muses – Film and Television, which overwhelms them all totally at first. But suddenly, a dissenting spirit grips the Muses. They propose another meeting, in which each of them is to present a project how to fight


Zarządzanie Kulturą, tom 6 (2013), nr 2 / Culture Management, vol. 6 (2013), no. 2 commercialisation. The story is sad but it ends with sort of a flicker of hope: “This board meeting on Mount Helicon went down in history as the saddest one”, implying that there was a continuation… In Anonymous’ story, the crisis takes place on many different levels and with a different magnitude: from an imminent end of the world to the necessity to finance cultural programmes. The last one seems to be the most problematic. The Muses sit, confused, hearing strange voices which are strange and critical of them. Finally, it turns out that they had lost their names, they do not differ from each other anymore and that they are just, in fact, dead paintings on the walls, embellishing the board room. Inga Grześczak describes the meeting as being strictly about business. The Muses are playing very active roles. They debate three weighty issues: brand, copyright and the pros and cons of adding of the Tenth Muse to the board. The Muses reveal the same economic mentalities which dominate in today’s world, they want profit disregarding from eternal art or of everlasting heritage, they plan promotion campaigns which are perhaps of dubious artistic value. But they do not act under pressure, they behave like this because they choose to. They live in their own world and decide about themselves. Further on in the meeting, Muse Erato presented an application to consider on the next board meeting in January. It concerns depriving Apollo of his nickname Musagetes (the leader of the Muses) and divesting him of said function together with the bonus of two talents per year which was vested in him. The Muses, as an independent and autonomous body, do not need male hegemonic patronage because they are well able to decide on their own. The application will be examined on the coming board meeting. Next, the Muses went to the source of the river Hippokrene to alternately stamp their feet on the ground, which in poor modern language is called dance. (Inga Grześczak)

A similar situation is found in Michał Zawadzki’s story – the Muses live a life of their own. Here, the crisis is not of an economic nature but is specific and understandable probably only for the Muses themselves. The atmosphere in the room wasn’t very exciting. One could say: you can hang an ax. Everyone was aware that the main point of the December board meeting would be an issue of the no-salute. It is a most serious crime on Mount Helicon. It happens very rarely and is punished with serious penalty: the person who commits a no-salute, must be frozen in a huge ice cube and thrown down the abyss from Helicon. (Michał Zawadzki)

The High Muse grants the guilty pardon due to mitigating circumstances but she does not do it lightly. The room buzzed again and The Sub-Muse Reconciliatorus Paternoster jumped up, ran into the podium and, kneeling, started to shout “Anything but that! Rector Magnificus, anything but having to use the Submuses system! Please! Have mercy! I’d rather die in the cube than work with this system! Noooo!!!” Guards quickly grabbed the Sub-Muse and kicked her out of the room. The board meeting proceeded further in normal mode. (Michał Zawadzki)

Two students’ stories take up a similar topic – the Muses go through their own crises. In Anna Suszwedyk’s story, the meeting is devoted to a prank by a painter, who disgraced himself, as well as art as such by creating a work of art in very poor taste. It is not his own private matter because he has made use of “inspiration originating from the Muses” for this disgraceful creation. Marta Połeć presents a chaotic meeting, in which everybody is not able to get through to anybody. This is caused by a permanent crisis among the Muses: each of them considers herself to be the most important one, the centre of the world of art. Their narcissism makes them “swoon on the very thought of their exceptionality and uniqueness”. But then the Spirit of Inspiration appears. It expresses esteem and


Zarządzanie Kulturą, tom 6 (2013), nr 2 / Culture Management, vol. 6 (2013), no. 2 devotion for all of them and shows how they constitute a community and are a part of society: “There is no Inspiration without all the Muses, and you do not exist without people”. A student of the University of Warsaw also describes a crisis meeting. During a severe economic crises the Muses were taken over by a corporation and even changed their name to Woko Spoko to better adapt to the market. The only thing that remained from the past goddesses of art was charm and grace which they now used to flirt with the workers. The level of meanings On the level of interpretation of meanings I focused on the relationship between the elements of the stories which give them sense, especially these ones that affect the plot. Crisis is a dominating issue, and it is caused mainly by economic factors in the environment, which are independent of the Muses and characterized as an external catastrophe. These events take a turn which is foreign to the world of the Muses, they are formulated in categories of traditional management books: market competition of Hermes’ company (Roman Batko), problems with the brand (Inga Grześczak), necessity to finance cultural programmes (Anonymous), etc. Sometimes the crisis is internal, endemic for the world of the Muses (Michał Zawadzki, Anna Suszwedyk), and so it is triggered by the Muses themselves or by their system of values (tradition, habits, beauty canon). It is always serious, sometimes terribly so. The opponent of the Muses is usually economic management which formulates its commands from the outside without understanding or respecting the Muses’ domain. It is often indefinite and non-personified (e.g. Bartosz Sławecki, Aneta Milarczyk), but sometimes it is related to a specific character (Hermes and his company in Roman Batko’s story). At times it is a phenomenon that comes from the inside of the domain, as e.g. Byzantine organisational culture (Michał Zawadzki), the tasteless artist (Anna Suszwedyk), or even the Muses themselves, narcissistcally concentrated on themselves (Marta Połeć). The opponent appears to be invincible in almost all the stories, and the crisis seems to be overwhelming. However, in many stories a sudden change in the plot takes place and the Muses’ company is able to get out of the tight situation or at least there is hope that it will be able to do so. It is possible because of the Muses’ mobilisation for action (Aneta Milarczyk), their nature (Bartosz Sławecki), or because of their own management (Inga Grześczak). In one case (Anonymous) the forces of the crisis gets the upper hand– the Muses lose their identity and their agency, they become dead paintings on the wall and an element of the background. The level of root metaphor The Muses themselves are an archetypical metaphor. What is interesting on this level is how the authors combine them with each other and context. Muses are a collective body but they deal rather badly with the crisis situation when working on their own. Apparently this collective is not enough. A potential for creative change emerges when someone else appears: Inspiration, scientists, workers on strike. Then it is achieved by activity typical for the Muses and consistent with their nature. The dynamics of the level of metaphor indicates that in the respondents’ imagination art inspires other contexts and is inspired by them to deal with threats coming from the environment. Summary The research conducted with the use of narrative collage method among Polish intellectualists shows the dynamics of the relationship between art and management. The nature of the dynamics is rather hopeful . The way in which it is presented by the art management scholars is similar to the way in which the authors of fictive stories I have collected imagined it, too. The plots were emphasizing both the destructive aspects of the relationship (crisis caused by domination of economic management) as well as the constructive ones (Muses are often able to overcome the crisis thanks to cooperation with the surroundings). To be able to act constructively, the characters of the collected stories need


Zarządzanie Kulturą, tom 6 (2013), nr 2 / Culture Management, vol. 6 (2013), no. 2 some ability which goes beyond linear thinking and consist in a “narrative leap” from one state to another, without preceding argumentation, and often happening suddenly and unexpectedly in the stories. However, it is not a leap into the vacuum. The comprehension of this transition is possible thanks to systems thinking (on the systems approach in humanistic management, see: Nierenberg, 2011). According to Gregory Bateson’s (1979) idea of the ecology of the mind, the world is a unity which consists of a number of patterns of information and communication. They form the basis for all human and biological systems. The ecosystem, envisioned in this way, is based on a dynamics of flows and relations which might be understood in context only. Renewal is possible only if one acts in accordance with them, not against them. Intuition is necessary – in order to grasp and to dare to join something that goes beyond common sense and rational reasoning. Management needs intuition to come in touch and work together with art. Literature Bateson G., 1979, Mind and Nature: A necessary unity, Bantam Books, Toronto. Batko R., Kotowski R., 2010, Nowoczesne muzeum: Dziedzictwo i współczesność, Muzeum Narodowe, Kielce. Bauman Z., 2011, Collateral Damage: Social inequalities in a global age, Polity Press, Cambridge – Malden. Björkegren D., 1992, Kultur och ekonomi, Carlssons, Stockholm. Czarniawska B., 2004, Narratives in social science research, Sage, Thousand Oaks. Czarniawska B., 1999, Writing management: Organization theory as a literary genre, Oxford University Press, Oxford. Czarniawska-Joerges B., Guillet de Monthoux P., 1994, Good novels, better management: Reading organizational realities, Harwood Academic Publishers, Chur. Gabriel Y., 2000, Storytelling in organizations: Facts, fictions, and fantasies, Oxford University Press, Oxford. Guillet de Monthoux P., 1993, Det sublimas konstnärliga ledning: Estetik, konst och företag, Nerenius & Santerus, Stockholm. Ingarden R., 1960, O dziele literackim: Badania z pogranicza antologii, teorii języka i filozofii, PWN, Warszawa. Jung C.G., 1968, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, [w:] H. Read (red.), The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, vol. 9, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London.Koivunen N. (2003) Leadership in symphony orchestras: Discursive and aesthetic practices, Tampere, Tampere University Press. Kostera M., 2007, Archetypes, [w:] S. Clegg, J.R. Bailey (red.), International Encyclopedia of Organization Studies, Sage, London, s. 67–68. Kostera M., 2010, Organizacje i archetypy, Wolters Kluwer, Warszawa. Kostera M., 2014, Occupy Management: Ideas and inspirations for self-management and selforganization, Routledge, London. Lindqvist K., 2003, Exhibition enterprising: Six cases of realisation from idea to institution, Stockholm University Press, Stockholm. Mills C.W., 1959, The sociological imagination, Oxford University Press, New York. Nierenberg B., 2011, Zarządzanie mediami, WUJ, Kraków. Nilson H., 2009, Henriettas collage: Kreative kvinnor I familjeforetag, Drivkraft, Vaxjo. Soila-Wadman M., 2008, The film producer: A scapegoat or/and midwife in the film making process?, [w:] M. Kostera (red.), Organizational Olympians: Heroes and heroines of organizational myths, Palgrave Macmillan, London, s. 175–183. Strati A., 1999, Organization and aesthetics, Sage, London – Thousand Oaks – New Delhi. Weick K.E., 2001, Making Sense of Organization, Blackwell, Oxford. Weick K.E., 1995, Sensemaking in organizations, Sage, Thousands Oaks.


Zarządzanie Kulturą, tom 6 (2013), nr 2 / Culture Management, vol. 6 (2013), no. 2 Zawadzki M., 2013, Życie w trasie – etnografia pracy muzyków, [w:] M. Kostera (red.), Organizować z polotem: Wyobraźnia organizacyjna w praktyce, Sedno, Warszawa, s. 19–36.

Monika Kostera is Professor Ordinaria and a professor at the Faculty of Management at the University of Warsaw. She has been a visiting and guest professor at a number of institutions such as the Erasmus University of Rotterdam, Lund University, Jagiellonian University and Leicester University. She is the author, co-author and editor of 31 books in Polish and English, published by Routledge, Edward Elgar, PWN, and other publishers; and of numerous scientific articles published in journals such as Organization Studies, British Journal of Management, Management Learning and the Journal of Organizational Behavior. She is member of the editorial board of academic journals, including: Journal of Organizational Change Management, Culture and Organization; and associate editor of, among others, British Journal of Management and Management Learning. Her current research interests include humanistic management, self-management, and organizational ethnography. She is Chair of and the head of the Management Systems Department at the Faculty of Management, University of Warsaw.

Helikon SA, czyli o sztuce, zarządzaniu i inspiracji Słowa klucze: sztuka w zarządzaniu, perspektywa estetyczna, wyobraźnia organizacyjna, kolaż narracyjny, analiza tekstu, myślenie systemowe. Streszczenie: W ostatnich latach intensywnie rozwinął się nurt w zarządzaniu związany z przedsięwzięciami sztuki. Wymagają one innego podejścia do zarządzania, niż głosi tradycyjny ekonomiczny nurt. Jednocześnie rozwija się też perspektywa traktująca zarządzanie jako sztukę. Wykorzystując metody narracyjne dla zbadania przestrzeni wyobraźni organizacyjnej, tekst stara się rzucić światło na dynamikę relacji sztuki i zarzadzania w szerszym kontekście kulturowym. Monika Kostera jest profesorem zwyczajnym na Wydziale Zarządzania Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, profesorem–gościem na Leeds University w Wielkiej Brytanii oraz Visiting Professor na Uniwersytecie Linneusza w Szwecji, University of Leicester i University of Essex w Wielkiej Brytanii. Współpracuje od kilku lat z Instytutem Kultury Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego. Jest autorką i redaktorem naukowym 31 książek w języku polskim i angielskim opublikowanych m. in. przez takie wydawnictwa jak Blackwell, Edward Elgar, PWN oraz licznych artykułów naukowych w międzynarodowych czasopismach, Organization Studies, Journal of Organizational Behavior i Organizational Dynamics. Jest współredaktorem pism British Journal of Management i Management Learning oraz członkiem rady redakcyjnej 11 pism. Obecnie zajmuje się zarządzaniem humanistycznym.


Monika Kostera, HELICON PLC, or: art, management and inspiration