Organizational Culture 1 Saleh Althobaity COMM.

660 Blumenthal Performing Arts; Organizational Culture Analysis Organizational culture is a broad area covering the values and norms in an organization. The term can refer to different aspects and it depends on the nature and operations of an organization. Organizational culture is therefore used to refer to behaviors and values which contribute to the unique psychological and social environment of an organization. In a broader sense, it’s the sum of all the philosophies, experiences, current assumptions and values that hold an organization together towards a certain course of action. It’s the organizational culture that describes the inner workings, self-image and the interactions of the organization with the outside world and with its future expectations. For a culture to be effective it should be a set of shared beliefs, attitudes, customs and implied contracts which can be either written or unwritten rules adopted by the organization over a certain period of time (Edgar, 2010, p. 23). Culture is the component that distinguishes one organization from another, giving it a sense of belonging and identity in the corporate world. One of the institutions regarded as the city of Charlotte’s major cultural organizations, made a decision to have a cultural name change. This was aimed at making it appealing to the public and to make it easy for the public to identify the location of its performances. This would help the organization as well as the public to further reflect the diversity of roles performed by the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. It was during this time that Blumenthal Performing Arts was born in Charlotte. This change and move was aimed at helping the public identify the exact location of the organization itself and where the shows were being performed (Ronnie, 2002). Tom Gabbard, the president of Blumenthal Performing Arts, said that this was paramount since the organization presents and offers performances in numerous different

Organizational Culture 2 spaces. In total, the organization carries out its performances in seven different spaces of which three are located at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center proper. Other locations included Ovens Auditorium, the Knight Theatre, and Spirit Square. Breaking from the usual and old cultural naming of their organization, President Tom Gabbar said that they hoped that by the organization dropping the word “Center” from their name, they would alleviate the confusion concerning where their shows were occurring. However, the name Blumenthal Performing Arts Center will be preserved for referencing purposes and the performance of arts in the same venue will continue to preserve the cultural heritage of the organization as well (Ronnie, 2002). According to Tom Gabbard, the new name would also reflect the nature and cultural heritage of the organization. He said Blumenthal Performing Arts will be a show producer, and venue manager as well as a show presenter. Under the strict adherence to the agreement signed between Blumenthal Performing Arts and the city of Charlotte as well as Mecklenburg, Blumenthal Performing Arts were to manage the daily running and operations of Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, Spirit Square, and the Knight Theatre, which demonstrates the cultural respect in which Blumenthal Performing Arts is held within the performance and arts frontiers. It’s the cultural routine of Blumenthal Performing Arts to concentrate more on local and national content to boost its twin aims of economic advancement and growth. It has also expanded further into the international market to present two thrilling shows, one of which was last summer’s hit dubbed “Girls Only” and another long running show of an engagement called “Shear Madness.” (Ronnie, 2002).

Blumenthal Performing Arts This is an organization that deals with arts performance and companies like the Queen City Theatre, Charlotte Symphony, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Community School of

Organizational Culture 3 Arts, and Opera Carolina among others. It’s also involved in educational performances outside the performing arts, visiting classrooms to assist students raise their test scores, retain talented teachers as well as boosting students’ enrollment. The organization is anchored on a mission statement of providing the best performances in partnership with others. It also strives to share and use the arts as a catalyst for improving and strengthening education, advancing economic growth, and building cohesiveness among communities (Ronnie, 2002). Observations from a visit to Blumenthal Performing Arts The company head office is located in Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina. This is the same tower building that hosts the head offices of Curter of Bank of America. By the appearance of the offices, they are not only modern but also practical in their nature, due to the work done there. The company is composed of different departments for efficient and effective service delivery to clients. Each department has a separate office where operations are coordinated. The company also owns and manages a theatre and a museum where all client needs are catered for. This arrangement not only makes it one of the best arts and performing companies in the United States, but also provides national preservation of arts and performances. The recreational industry in the United States has grown tremendously in the last few decades, so the strategic positioning of Blumenthal Performing Arts offers it an excellent opportunity to meet these demands (Ronnie, 2002). Tom Gabbard emphasized the communication channels when he talked about his frequent business trips while business at his office was going on as usual. He insists on the importance of communication in an honest and transparent manner whatever the issue. This also extends to their clients and suppliers. Transparency, truth and honesty form the basis for the company’s organizational culture. This improves the credibility and integrity of not only the employees but also the management, which translates to a good company reputation with the public (Ronnie, 2002).

Organizational Culture 4 Achieving the company’s mission statement As discussed above, the visit brought out three key pillars that support the growth of the company as depicted in the organization’s mission statement. It strives to present the best educative performances of arts in partnership with others; and to improve and strengthen the quality of education among its clients while building cohesiveness in society for advancing economic growth and prosperity. These pillars boost the sustenance of the cultural orientation of the company. Education promotion forms the fundamental component of the organization to equip students with practical experiences which supplement their formal education as was emphasized by Tom Gabbard. The company also has similar programs to cater for adults and employees from other companies (Ronnie, 2002). Tom Gabbard also explained how the organization encourages its employees to visit other art companies and different shows organized by other companies. This is not only important to the employees who have new experiences but also vital for culturally upgrading the company. Learning new cultures and new ways of doing things will help employees appreciate what their company offers (Gerald & Angela, 2010, p.47). In its mission statement, the organization insists on community cohesiveness as well as offering the best performances throughout the year with partnerships. One such venture is usually done with Blumenthal Performing Arts affinity clubs. These are composed of informal social clubs that partner with shows throughout the entire year. It involves the interaction of different members who share and enjoy pre- or post-show mixers, coupled with discounted tickets. Their membership is not restricted to certain categories of people or employees but involves interaction with like-minded people who have a passion for various performance arts. Affinity clubs currently consist of students (Charlotte Live), young adults (Club Blume), educators (Teachers Lounge) and LGBT Community (Out of Town). Through this interaction, they are not only entertained but also exchange ideas and learn new cultures

Organizational Culture 5 which they implement in their respective organizations for efficiency and growth (Ronnie, 2002). The last pillar in the organization’s mission statement is to improve and advance economic growth. This is catered for when it pays its employees attractive salaries and allowances for their work in the organization. They are able therefore to cater for their expenses and improve on their financial status, thereby building the economy. Through corporate social responsibility, the organization is also is able to give back to society. This also advances its economic status to higher levels (Edgar, 2010, p.47). The composition of the employees is diverse in terms of educational levels as well as age groups. Cultural enhancement is greatly dependent on this fact of diversity, which the company has been able to exploit. This is also reflected in how the organization makes decisions with its top leadership solely responsible for crucial decision making. The president and vice-president are the only ones tasked with decision making. The organization justifies the lack of delegation by the fact that many employees don’t have a strong background in the arts. However, this hierarchy is considered only for decision making platforms and not for role models. As their diversity is so does their choice of role models and heroes are. The organization advocates for equality in the service of the community; a cultural practice encompassed in their mission statement (Ronnie, 2002). Conclusion Blumenthal Performing Arts is one kind of organization that has considered its cultural setting and adoption as a key to success. The initial change of name from Blumenthal Performing Arts Center to Blumenthal Performing Arts was in line with this doctrine. Their intention, according to their president’s explanation, was to alleviate the confusion of the venue and their performances. Blumenthal Performing Arts has adopted direct and indirect

Organizational Culture 6 means of communicating their cultural values to their employees, their partners and the outside world. They also use formal and informal means like stories and emails respectively. Blumenthal is anchored on several cultural elements, which are stipulated in the mission statement of the organization. During my visit, the president took us through these pillars which included the strengthening of education to members and to the public for the benefit of the education system in society. It was observed that they also choose arts and performances that are educationally oriented for the same purpose. In this regard, they have introduced education programs at various levels including children, young people and even adults. The visit also concluded that Blumenthal Performance Arts strives to achieve economic community growth as well as building community cohesiveness. The president also described the ways and means they have used to achieve the three pillars stipulated in their mission statement. Blumenthal Performance Arts is also a culturally diversified organization. Not only do they have diversity in employees’ education, but also in qualifications and the age differences. Finally, decisions are made by the top management of the organization; that is, the president assisted by the vice president. The organization also does not advocate for role models and heroes with its operations; all employees are equally inspiring.

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References Ronnie, L (2002), Blumenthal Performing Arts, Retrieved on 26th October, 2011 from: http://www.performingartsctr.org/default.asp?blumenthal=54 Gerald, W & Angela, L (2010), Organizational Culture in Action: A Cultural Analysis Workbook, Sage Publication Inc. Edgar, H (2010), Organizational Culture and Leadership, John Wiley and Sons