[final thesis IV] Kulturskolan Stockholm - Comparative Management of Cultural Activities in Europe | Sweden | Music Education



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3.Kulturskolan Stockholm

…the minstrel told him about his homesickness. “What!” said the old man “Are you bored in Stockholm? How can it be?... Let’s go and sit over that bench, I’ll tell you about Stockholm.” Selma Lagerlöf Nils Holgersson Underbara Resa1

Europe’s biggest Culture School
Kulturskolan Stockholm, the Stockholm Culture School, is an arena open to all young people, aged between 5 and 22, who wish to develop their creative talents in the fields of art and design, dance, music, writers’ workshop, poetry and theatre. Music schools in Sweden have a long tradition. Earlier, nearly every town had its own music school. About 20 years ago the first school of arts (Kulturskolan) started and since then there has been a very strong movement towards schools of arts, which means that every year many music schools become schools of arts instead. Kulturskolan Stockholm is a municipal school, part of the City of Stockholm. It was started in 1996, with the political decision to merge the “Our Theatre”, established in 1942, and “The Music School”, started in 1958. Two totally different cultures, music and theatre, had to find a co-existence and common creative values. Kulturskolan also contains fine arts and dance. Kulturskolan today reaches 14.500 pupils in so called subject courses. The School also cooperates in other activities with leisure clubs, primary and secondary schools. In total, including these activities, the School has 28 000 participants. The School offers a wide range of high-quality cultural programmes throughout Stockholm, which, for educational purposes, is sub-divided into 12 regional units. Kulturskolan also has a Resource Centre for children and young people with some kind of disability, it is a regional resource for regular schools and serves as a meeting place for the development of the learning processes of the future and the role that culture can play in them.2

Selma Lagerlöf, Nils Holgersson Underbara Resa (The Wonderful Adventures of Nils Holgersson), 1906 (trad.it., p.155) 2 Sources: Kulturskolan brochure, website (see “References”) and interview.



Kulturskolan facts and figures
NORDIC COUNTRIES: Kulturskolan is the biggest Culture School PUPILS: Approx. 31.000 participants (14.500 subject pupils)3 STAFF: Approx. 345 teachers and 45 administrative employees PREMISES: 12.800 square metres of floor space and 16 theatres EXTRA-SCHOLASTIC ACTIVITIES: Activities in 75 schools MOREOVER: Several hundred bands and groups, stock of 10.000 instruments, etc.

3.1 State: Sweden and Music
Music Education in Sweden Sweden is considered a model for the coordination among different study levels in music education. The Swedish cultural orientation is that music must be within everybody’s reach and everybody should have the possibility to learn it. Therefore basic music teaching is widespread through primary and secondary schools, the music gymnasium5 (15-18 years old), but especially through and coordinated with municipal Music Schools, present in every town, as an afternoon activity. The present situation, in which the number of participants is continuously growing, especially in the primary segment, cause some economic and structural problems, connected to the number of teachers per pupil6, to funding and to professional employment of students, as however happens all around Europe. For this reason, schools have adopted diversified solutions such as giving to more committed pupils the possibility to get some more lessons per week. This system produces a diffuse music alphabetization: almost everybody in the country has an amateur practice with music and sings in a choir, with high quality results7.
In 2005/06. When not specified, all figures are from the year 2005. All economic values were, of course, originally expressed in Swedish Crowns (SEK), which have been considered equal to 0,1€. “M” stands for “Millions”. 5 Here there are some problems caused by the little time assigned to the study of the instrument. 6 Therefore to its cost, mostly financed by the public administration. 7 Anna Maria Freschi, “La Svezia modello di coordinamento”, 2004, p.29
4 3


Public Sector Policies In Sweden the advanced welfare state and the long social-democratic tradition sustain the culture sector and everybody’s possibility to afford it. The public administration spends 1,7 billion € in culture (1,3% of total State budget8) in its 3 levels: State provide 800M €, regions 100M €, city councils 777M€. In this way, 30% of the culture expenditures are covered by the public sector9. In 2005, 180M € have been given to Music Schools and Culture Schools10.
WHO PAYS FOR CULTURE IN SWEDEN State 14% City Councils 13% Private sector 70% Regions 3%

Regions 10% City Councils 44%

Culture Schools 10,7%

State 46%

Other Cultural Expend. 89,3%

Legislation In Sweden, for artists and art teachers income tax deductions and pension supplements are provided.11 This contributes to the good and secure economic conditions of the Staff of Music Schools. Several unions defend music teachers rights in Sweden.

While in Italy is between 0,3 and 0,5%. Moreover, employments in the cultural field in Scandinavian countries are the highest in Europe. In Sweden they represents 3,3% of total jobs, in the United kingdom 3,2%, while instead Italy (2,2%) and Spain (2%) have some of the lowest employment rates in the cultural field in Europe. (Source: World Music Central, 2004, see “References”) 9 Source: Kulturskolan. 10 Source: SMoK (Sveriges Music och Kulturskoleråd) 11 Source: European Union - Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe website (see “References”)



Music Schools in Sweden Every town in Sweden has a Culture School, which includes schools of some or all music subjects, theatre, dance, art, writing, and all sort of cultural expressions. They are part of the City Public Administration and get funds from it. There are some other private schools, much smaller, connected to study associations, an old tradition of Sweden, or other non-profit organizations. There are no big profit music schools.

3.3 Stockholm
Music Environment The importance of culture for the Swedish government and the efforts to make it affordable to everyone, has made Stockholm one of the European capitals with the most animated cultural life. Even if there is not a great scene or tradition of small and medium private clubs with live music, when it comes to bigger places, like arenas theatres and cinemas, statistics12 say that it is the second capital in Europe13 for total participants to concerts14 and that is in the top five positions for all other kinds of cultural events15. For this reason it was also selected as European Capital of Culture for the year 1998. Economic and Social Structure Fees are extremely low at Kulturskolan16 to make the courses affordable for everybody. The purpose of the public administration is to get as many people as possible into cultural studies, libraries and other cultural expressions: “we should reach everybody” is the message and the goal that comes from the politicians. This is the reason why they give so much funds to culture. Demographic Structure The city of Stockholm has about 760 000 inhabitants. Kulturskolan controls schools in all city areas (12 schools, one for each area) and can, by law, only offer courses in the city of Stockholm, because it belongs to the City Public Administration and is financed with the taxes of the Stockholm inhabitants.

12 13

Arts&Culture in Helsinki, Urban facts, City of Helsinki, 2004 Second only to Rome. 14 0,7 per inhabitant in 2001. 15 Theatre, cinemas, museums, books, etc. 16 See Price policies (§ 3.4)


Relations and Funds from the Public Administration The School is a part of the Public Administration. The head of the School, Mr. Hans Skoglund, has to report to the Culture Director. There is also a political board for the Culture Department, to whom the Culture Director has to report, called Culture Council. It is this board that decide politically the goals and funds of the School.

Culture Council


Culture Director

Human Resources

Administration & I.T.


Culture Office



House of Culture

Development of culture&integration

The Public Administration set the goals for the School and have to approve changes in fees. Furthermore, all School activities and choices have to receive the agreement, expressed or tacit, of the Culture Council and the Public Administration.18 Kulturskolan gets funds only from the city of Stockholm, 19% of the total cultural expenditures of the city, nothing from State and Region. The budget for culture is 75M €, 13 of which go to Kulturskolan, the second biggest cultural expenditure only after libraries. The School revenues for fees are only 2,2M €, 17% of total revenues19.

17 18

Source: “Kulturrapport - Stockholm 2005”, City of Stockholm, 2005 See § 3.4 19 2005 figures (source: Kulturskolan)


Admin. & Projects 7% Department of Culture & Integration 26% Kulturskolan 19%

Culture Office 1%

House of Culture 11% Museums 1%

Libraries 35%

Competitors As mentioned before, in Sweden there are other Music Schools connected to study associations, very popular in this country. In Stockholm, for instance, there is the “Freeze House”20, that gets money from the city and from private funds, and the “Kulturama”, which is another growing school of arts present all around Sweden, focusing more on adults. Competitors (for funds) should be also considered other organizations present in the cultural field: cooperatives, non-profit organizations, secondary schools that have cultural programs. 25 years ago there was nothing else than the Music School, nowadays the situation has changed and there are a lot of actors in the cultural arena. Private schools are the “little Academy”, east-oriented, and the “Nordic Gymnasium”21. Then there is the old tradition of the study associations. There are 12 study associations. For example there is the “Workers’ Education Association”, connected to the left wing, the “Schools for Grown-up”, connected to the liberals, and many more. They have any kind of cultural courses, from making pottery to English learning. These organization have been focused on adults, but during the last decade they have been trying to appeal to children and teenager, Kulturskolan’s potential pupils. This is also due to the fact that Kulturskolan often have long queues to get into the most popular courses, such as piano and guitar. Therefore Kuturskolan is working to change the attitude and education of its teachers, most of whom were used to one-to-one lessons22.

20 21

Name translated in English. The original name is “Fryshuset”. Kulturskolan cooperates with it. 22 See § 3.4


Relations with the Conservatory Good and bad. There are 5 conservatories in Sweden, one in Stockholm, the Royal Conservatory of Music. Most of the music teachers at the Culture School have conservatory education and that is the cause of the historically difficult relations between the two important institutions. What Kulturskolan claims is well explained by the title of the article that Mr. Skoglund wrote at the beginning of its mandate: “they are educating pedagogues for the past”. This caused a period of very difficult communication, which now is partly overcome. Some cooperation23 is now starting, “but it is a slow process, that has to do with power and tradition…it’s a very heavy organization to change, like Kulturskolan as well”24. The main problem is that conservatory education is based on old traditional methods25 of teaching and learning, while Kulturskolan offers all kind of courses and is open to all new trends and tastes in music26, from hip-hop to e-learning in guitar27, and, furthermore, is committed in turning the way of teaching from mainly one-to-one lessons to group lessons, to allow more pupils to attend its culture courses. Therefore when the teachers come out from the conservatory, after years of studies, they meet a totally different reality, that they are not properly prepared to meet and it takes years for those of them who are creative enough and have an high portion of self confidence to adapt. The School has a development project for these cases.

“The idea is that their educators should start coming to the School to work together with Kulturskolan’s teachers, so that they can communicate their experience, and then going back and forth, because that would be the fastest way to change the Music Conservatories.” (Hans Skoglund) 24 From Hans Skoglund’s interview. 25 Even if in the Swedish Conservatory, differently from what happens in Italy, some modern genres like jazz and afro music are taught. 26 Many teachers in these subjects do not have a professional education, but they built their experience ‘on the field’. 27 “There is no kind of music considered superior to another: everyone has today his own taste coming to music, it is not right or wrong, quality and not quality, because in every subgroup you have good quality and bad quality, bad heavy metal and good heavy metal, good rock and bad rock, good classical music and bad classical music.” (Hans Skoglund)



3.3 Shared Values and Mission
Kulturskolan’s Shared Values and Vision were written during the last years through the work of focus groups of teachers and administrators. Now they are the framework that anyone who wants to work with Kulturskolan must accept and refer to. That process has been defined and considered as interesting and really important for the School29. Mission The focus of Kulturskolan’s activities is how children and young people learn; they consider learning as a stimulating, creative, lifelong process in which understanding and respect for other cultures play a central role. At School, pupils accumulate new experiences, develop their self-confidence and are encouraged to become actively involved in cultural life. It is not a School’s objective to educate professionals: Kulturskolan wants kids to have positive experience of culture during their children hood, from 5 to 22 years old, which is a great and important part of their lives. It is a fact that every year many pupils from the School enter the artistic universities, and they are very proud of that, but it is not their goal30, it is a personal decision of the students. Kulturskolan shall offer all children and young people, regardless of their circumstances, functional abilities and living conditions, a real chance of democratic influence and participation in cultural life, artistic experience, knowledge acquisition and artistic creation. All children are entitled to discover their preferred means of artistic expression. For some of them, the education received at Kulturskolan will prove a decisive factor in their future life. It is not just a question of education. Kulturskolan is also a meeting place where artistic idioms are tested, different interests come together and new forms of expression arise. There are many reasons for children to come to Kulturskolan: they want to meet friends,

When not specified from other source, all information have been gathered from the interview (31/8/2005) to Hans Skoglund, Head of Kulturskolan Stockholm, from Kulturskolan’s publications and from the website (see “References”) 29 “Now I’m happy because we are one of the few schools that have basic values. I thought that we should have written basic values, because when you have a staff of 350 people the risk is that you might have 350 different kind of basic values, and therefore you have to discuss and find a common platform. The discussion is always the most important part of the process…” (Hans Skoglund) 30 “We don’t say to them: we will make a musician/actor of you … when I came here the slogan was ‘your dreams our reality’, and that means that pupils have dreams of becoming stars or whatever and that is our reality to take care of these dreams. But now we have changed it because it didn’t reflect our real aim, then we have written our Basic Values & Vision… Of course not all the Staff, never in such big organizations, think that these are good Values, I hope that most of them do but, if you come down to dust, I think someone doesn’t like it at all, but I would say that most of our Staff do…” (Hans Skoglund)


they want to have fun, they want to be seen and heard, and they want to develop their artistic talents. Children are all different and have different aspirations and expectations. Each child has his or her own temperament and own individual abilities and reasons for wanting to participate in Kulturskolan’s activities. Kulturskolan is a multicultural meeting place with equality between sexes and a satisfactory ethnic balance among both teachers and pupils. The School has the political mission to double the amount of participants within 4 years: in 2002 Kulturskolan had 22.000 participants, so they expect the number to growth to 40.000 by 2006. Shared Values All Kulturskolan’s activities should be based on democratic values. The School basic values are grounded on the United Nations Children’s Convention on the Rights of the Child, which establishes that all children and young people under the age of 18 enjoy the same rights: the right to live and develop, the right to grow up in safety and be protected from abuse, and the right to respect for what they think and believe. The best interests of a child must always come first. The Convention establishes norms for children’s health, education, social security, a reasonable standard of living, play and recreation. The Convention also notes that children are entitled to their own language, culture and identity. Enthusiasm, pleasure and curiosity are important driving forces in all education and development. For Kulturskolan, they are fundamental to all activities. It is the knowledge and commitment of the teachers themselves that stimulates enthusiasm and curiosity in the pupils. Kulturskolan focuses on the individual child. Children’s culture can be created by children, with children and for children.31 Here the children free their imagination, realise their dreams and gain hope for the future. The work in this School is built on Howard Gardner’s idea of multiple intelligences: pupils learn easier if they can use the different intelligences they have got. This is combined with ideas of emotionally based learning and a theme of tolerance to make the children more emphatic and care-taking.

“I can give you an example. I was in an European project, the ‘CIRCUS project - what money for culture 2000’ financed by the European Found, with Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Nederland etc involved. We had 4 groups in our School and 200 kids from a lot of countries playing ‘Ithaca’ from the ‘Ulysses’. There we noticed that there was a difference between Norway and Sweden: the Norwegians wanted to have a product that was on high level, so they want professional composers and they were pointing out at the pupils “do this, do that…” ; we instead worked with the kids in a different way, they made the music, they made the story, they chose what God they want to have, and so on, and the teachers&pedagogues helped them when they needed support to make the arrangement for different instruments and talking to them about the dramaturgy. So it was very interesting to see that big difference between countries so close. I think that this is the most interesting thing we have: our relation with kids and kids’ dreams. I don’t want to say that all my teachers are working like that, not in music anyway, but that is the picture of how we should work to make strong individuals that know who they are and with self confidence.” (Hans Skoglund)




Basing themselves on their own experience, knowledge and cultural values, teachers meet the children in a mutual, open-hearted dialogue. Children need committed adults to serve as role models and guides, to help them open up new worlds, to offer support in their search for an identity of their own. The perceptive teacher, self-assured in his or her role as an educationalist, constantly develops through meetings with different children. More is expected of a teacher than just teaching. Instead, teaching should be regarded as an exciting challenge offering opportunities for personal development and immense job satisfaction. There is a dynamic force field between the teachers. Curiosity, readiness to cooperate and mutual professional respect are the hallmarks of their work. All of Kulturskolan’s activities are of equal importance to the children, and they are noted for their consistently high quality. All of Kulturskolan’s activities are founded on processes in which the entire staff takes part. The administration is largely oriented towards the staff and on cooperation both inside and outside the School. Kulturskolan is a multicultural meeting place with equality between the sexes and a satisfactory ethnic balance among both teachers and pupils.

Kulturskolan organises and finances twice a year two one-day and one 2-days conferences, called ‘future days’ with all the staff living together in an hotel. That costs “one and a half teacher”, but the administrators consider it worth it, because it is the only opportunity for the Staff to see and meet each other, feel that they are one School, one fantastic School, that everybody can be a part of, that they have a common direction32 in what they are doing but very big freedom to work within those frames. Teachers, during those days, work in groups with the activities the School should put into practice the next year, such as: how they can increase the amount of pupils attending the School33, new activities to attract people in the suburbs, etc. Films of the activities realized by the School are shown, to make everyone aware of them. Finally, they all party and have fun together in the night, with orchestras where some of the teachers are playing.

“During those days I make my speech about ‘what have we done, where are we now, where shall we go…” (Hans Skoglund) 33 “We put this base: there is no meaning to discuss if we should or not double the pupils, because it’s our task to do that, so don’t discuss that, discuss how we can reach it instead…” (Hans Skoglund)





A couple of years ago Kulturskolan got a demand from the politicians to double the number of participants, reach a larger amount of boys and get better ethnical balance among the participants. All within the same budget. The School responded to that by this package of measures: new types of subjects and courses to reach more pupils to a reasonable cost new ways to cooperate with schools and leisure clubs Heads have to create a strong commitment and loyalty in the Staff Staff, especially the teachers in music, needed education to meet the new challenges. Today Kulturskolan Stockholm is in a thrilling development process34. During the last years the whole staff has taken part in focus groups and got inspiration during the “future days”, which gave ideas for the development. The European Social Fund gave the School the opportunity to provide good and extensive education to the Staff. This work led to many decisions, documents and plans. The School was re-organised to meet the new challenges. The demands from the politicians, the Vision and the results of the focus groups made Kulturskolan start thirty development projects led by teachers in the Autumn of 2005 to create new forms of education and learning under the umbrella of ‘Culture for Joy and Learning’. Furthermore, many ongoing projects in different schools and leisure clubs, BAS-teams35, short courses and longer courses were created. This also means that it meets a larger amount of boys, gets a better ethnical mix and, thanks to cultural expressions, the pupils learn easier. Kulturskolan have now succeeded in creating new attractive courses like e-learning in guitar, digital storytelling, hip hop, steel pan, etc. and have increased the number of participants with 30%, but it cannot and will not stop. Target Market All children between 5 and 22 years old in the town of Stockholm. Especially boys and especially children from other countries, to get a better balance among ethnic groups36 and between sexes37.

The management is trying to develop new ways of thinking, among managers and with teachers. Piece by piece. “I can notice that a lot of teachers are ‘coming out’, so to speak, ‘in the new world’, although some are sitting in the corners, more and more are coming. It’s a very interesting period I think.” (Hans Skoglund) 35 “The politicians only told us general goals, like ‘you should double the number of pupils’, then we have to find the operative way to reach it. So short courses is a result of our thinking and creativity. My task is to explain that to our staff, stressing the opportunities that these new ways can bring, because they are very afraid of this. But afterwards they feel they have developed themselves. Teachers who succeeded in doing big groups or other new types of courses feel very strong… Not all the teachers want to adapt and try new type of courses, but many do, it’s coming more and more.” (Hans Skoglund) 36 A satisfactory ethnic balance is considered 2/3 of Swedes, 1/3 of non-Swedes (with one parent coming from an other country), that is the current ethnic mix in Stockholm. This is an ideal target measure for Kulturskolan’s managers, but it cannot be calculated: the School does not have the right to make statistics on these matters, because they could be improperly used.



In this regard, it has been emphasized the difficulty to attract people coming from some foreign countries, as for example people coming from Africa, Lebanon, etc. that doesn’t have the tradition to go to this type of schools and to pay for it. It is easier if they are coming from Russia, Lithuania or Czechoslovakia…or south of Europe, where it is a tradition to go into schools to study music, or people from Iran, who also have an academic tradition.

4P of the School: Product The School offers subject courses in about 25 different instruments and many other complementary music courses and activities. New kinds are tested every year. Lessons are offered in theatre, dance, fine arts, digital and all kinds of cultural expressions. Subject courses are provided in the afternoon time. In a typical week a pupil come to the School, after ordinary school, and attend an instrumental lesson (for 20min), then often s/he is involved in an orchestra as well, once a week38. The School is working to change the attitude and education of its teachers to move from a system based on one-to-one education, to one based on group education. This is the main way to reach the political goal of doubling the amount of participants, and, so far, it is beginning to give the first results : in 2002 participants were 22.000, in 2005 31.000. Students, however, are not forced to take group lessons. Pupils choose what kind of lessons they want39 to take after “short test courses” (6 times), where they can start playing an instrument. Then they attend “long-term courses” (12 times) in groups. The most talented pupils are picked to have one-to-one education. After that pupils may enter the “Pre-Advanced Program”, for the more gifted children, and then the “Advanced Program”. Here they got 1 hour education per week and a second instrument, theory, and they play in ensembles and groups. Subject courses are not effective to attract people coming from other countries that do not have a tradition to go to Music Schools and pay for it, therefore Kulturskolan managers decided to offer free activities40 to the ordinary schools in the suburbs41, where a lot of foreign people live. Here they propose what they call “Basic Teams” (BAS-team)42, shorter courses43

In music there are not many problems (45% boys, 55% girls), but in the other disciplines they are trying to find methods to attract more boys (in dance they are 10%) 38 Or s/he attends dance or theatre classes in a group. 39 There are Parents Associations that supervise this process. 40 Financed with School’s own money. 41 These activities are not offered in the ordinary schools in the Stockholm city centre, where more well-off families live. 42 “A ‘Basic Team’ is composed by 4 teachers: one in dance, one in theatre, one in arts and one in music. They work with 2/3 classes in school, 8 weeks, 3 hours every week, so the kids got 24hrs with the teachers. This cost the School 200.000€ every year. The idea is that we will reach those in the “poor areas” (culturally poor, economically poor, etc.) In practice, Kulturskolan can give 36 Basic Teams per year, reaching about 2000 pupils that way. Then we guess among those 2000 pupils it should be 50% boys/50% girls, normally, that means, in a


or other types of special courses. Now the School has also started a “tolerance project” in 3 schools, in cooperation with a museum. Another important field of activity are disabled kids. Here the School has 10 specialized teachers. Every summer and winter44 the School participate in and help to organize a festival called “Young 08”45, where courses are offered to pupils. In Kulturskolan some instruments have long queues of pupils waiting to enter the courses. Among those instruments are guitar, keyboards, drums and bass. With the purpose to offer education to more pupils, some teachers have developed an e-learning method (called “Plej”) where pupils can train in front of a computer and have meetings with teachers and other pupils a couple of times every month.46 The School has no final examinations or diploma. Maybe a certificate of attendance will be introduced in the near future. Normally the season ends up with a performance or a concert. For instance this year they rented the entire Culture House (15 stages, outside and on the roof) and organized 106 concerts and dances in one day. Most of the staff was working there in one way or another, and there were around 1200 pupils making concerts.

All of Kulturskolan’s activities are of equal importance to the children, and they are noted for their consistently high quality. This objective has led sometimes to misunderstandings. According to Mr. Hans Skoglund, Head of Kulturskolan Stockholm, it is important to define quality according to School’s values, resources and objectives. In this regard, many teachers claim and research high quality working more and more and asking more and more resources for just few students or activities. This mentality is in clear contrast with the School’s goal to give opportunities to all pupils, reducing queues and doubling the amount of participants, and with the limited School’s resources. Therefore constant reference, training and repetition of School’s values is given to teachers to make, not force, all of them accept and share these basic values and objectives. The goal of Kulturskolan is to make the participants satisfied. This is the most important quality measurement applied. In an interesting survey made by the School, to the question “what is the most important thing in the Culture Schools?” pupils answered “to have fun”.
school where 70% are from other countries, there will also be 70% in the Basic Teams. Therefore it fulfils the goal the politicians gave the School, and it is very popular among the kids , they say: “Oh yes! Today the Culture School is coming!”... (Hans Skoglund) 43 40 new types in Autumn 2005, to attract more pupils. 44 When kids are free from school. 45 “08” is the Stockholm phone code, so people from the country call people from Stockholm “nul otto” (“o8”) 46 In PLEJ DVD, CD and downloadable music notes, PDF format and MP3 files are used.


“To have fun has many different meanings” explains the Head of the School “for those skilled is to play piano better and better, but for others is to be good friends, having a nice couple of hours at the School.” Price Fees are only 13 % of total revenues47. They are inexpensive in the short courses phase (25€ Vs normal fee for annual music courses of 75€48, and more expensive for the Advanced Program (200€), even if they still receive a subvention from Kulturskolan of about 500€ per pupil to cover the actual costs of these courses, because in those courses students attend lessons for 3 hours. The prices are very low49, to make it possible for most kids to participate. The School also give the possibility to ask for a reduction if parents are really poor and they feel that 75€ are too much. In those cases they have to demonstrate what they earn in a year, and then the fee is reduced down to 25€. School’s managers cannot decide and change fees, if they want to, they have to ask permission to different level of political approvals that go up to the Town Board of Stockholm, therefore it is very difficult to do that. This means that prices cannot be used as a lever, to finance new courses or activities, to avoid queues, etc., which is sometimes felt as a missed opportunity, but it is accepted as it is. Promotion The School does not put a great budget in advertising and communication (about 1% of total costs50), also because of the long queues in many instruments they have. Even then, they are seeking professional advice and considering the possibility to change the promotion strategy, as they admit their weaknesses in this field. Marketing channels are essentially: through primary schools with folders; with the updated internet website; during public School’s events; with lectures: to present important events or news about the School; in magazines: very seldom (for big events), it is considered too expensive. Until some years ago the slogan was ‘your dreams our reality’, but now it has been changed with messages that reflect more the School’s written basic values and vision.

47 48

The rest is covered by City Council contributions. Theatre and fine arts even cheaper (25€), which is not even enough to buy the materials they need. 49 Average for a Swedish typical public Culture School. Prices are generally lower in cities governed by the left-wing party, like Stockholm now. 50 See § 3.9


Place Kulturskolan owns and rents for its activities about 13.000 square meters of premises all over Stockholm, among which there are 16 theatre (the biggest has 250 seats). In addition to it, the School makes activities in 70 schools (270 rooms). Kulturskolan premises are situated all over town. This is particularly important for small kids, since, for this reason, they do not have long distances to go to music courses. Competitive Advantage Main competitive advantages are: a lot of possibilities: courses, stock of instruments, materials, etc.; premises: well equipped rooms, theatres…all over town: low prices and possibilities for further reductions; staff: dedicated and skilled; reputation and tradition of the “Our Theatre” and the “Music School”51; strong relations with the Public Administration52: funds, premises,… any problem may occur (e.g. complaints by parents, etc.).

Vision The School has developed a lot and will continue. It was difficult to create the Culture School, because the culture in music is one, the culture in theatre is something else53. Now they are still in the process of “melting” with each other, this is what they are trying to do with all small and big meetings. Nowadays the relations and collaborations have become much better54, but it takes time, especially in the Swedish culture, because, as they say: “when you are changing attitude, you can’t do it by order, it comes from heart and understanding”55.

“ ‘Our Theatre’ was started during the World War and Music Schools since 1958. I think it’s around 170.000 pupils they have had since then, so it’s very well known in Sweden. Nobody knows about the Culture Schools, because we are only 9 years old. So I always say “I’m the chief of the Culture School…” “What is it?” “The old Our Theatre + the Music Schools + a lot of other things...” “Ahahhh!”. We are working on that, but it’s difficult, because the name ‘Our Theatre’ is very strong.” (Hans Skoglund) 52 “We are popular among the politicians, they change power every 4th year, right or left wing, but they like us both. I think they want slightly different things from us, so I have to work a lot for one year to make this new thinking to be rooted. I think the left wing wants us to be more like an ordinary school, to make it in very simple words.” (Hans Skoglund) 53 “In theatre you are used to conflicts, theatre is conflict, every theatre play talks about conflicts and how to solve them. It is very “out acting”, but music is more “inside”, afraid of conflict…” (Hans Skoglund) 54 “Now it starts to work rather good, I can feel it when we have working place meetings in the units to discuss how things are going, what can we change among us… now they are sitting mixed, earlier it was theatre teachers there and music teacher there, and they were looking at each other ‘like that’, and there was a lot of arguing about ‘don’t take our money’, etc. But now it’s much better…” (Hans Skoglund) 55 (Hans Skoglund)



Kulturskolan is and will always be open and curious about innovations and changes in the society, continuously taking and checking new possibilities. This attitude is well represented by Hans Skoglund’s56 answer to the question “Do you do anything with computer games?”, he replied “No, not yet.”57 In the future Kulturskolan will be a project oriented organization in continuous development: an organization where directors, staff and pupils have a possibility to contribute to the development of the School and themselves and feel a lot of joy. Here is the Vision of the School in 12 points: Kulturskolan Stockholm will be the world’s most cultural school; Kulturskolan will use culture to set up meetings between people; Everyone taking part in Kulturskolan programmes will be enthusiastic participants and experience a sense of personal development in everything they do; Students at Kulturskolan will dispose of tools for democratic influence at school; Everyone in Stockholm will know where Kulturskolan is and what it stands for; All Stockholmers will be able to experience Kulturskolan’s programmes at some time during their youth; Kulturskolan will in every department be a model of openness and creativity as it faces new challenges and strives to keep moving ahead; Kulturskolan will be at the cutting edge of educational development in academic and recreational programmes alike; Kulturskolan will be the most attractive place of work for cultural educationalists; Kulturskolan will have exciting premises of its own that will also function as local cultural centres; Kulturskolan will have set the standard for the creation of networks for mutual development and cooperation in child and youth culture in Sweden and the rest of the world; Kulturskolan will be something of a brand name that positively reinforces Stockholm’s public image. Stockholm Kulturskolan is also developing international relations and is involved in many European projects. The objective of these activities is to exchange experiences and ideas about possible future developments of the School.
56 57

Head of Kulturskolan Stockholm. “So it’s always ‘Shall we do it or not?’. And in that we always have the risk that some politician doesn’t agree… for example ‘Graffiti’: the right wing said ‘Graffiti is criminal’, but the left wing, with which we are working now, prepared a project with money to develop it, and now we are doing Graffiti. Can we do that after next election? We think that Graffiti is an art form, some of them are criminal when they are doing it on the wrong canvas or places… So now we are having an exhibition in a very well known art gallery. But that is interesting, because that is the role of culture: to find where are the borders that you have to break trough… then, as chief, I have to be prepared to answer what we are doing.” (Hans Skoglund)


In this regard, it is to mention that it will soon become the “twin school” of a Cultural Centre managed by a foundation in Utrecht (Nederland). The idea they are investigating is to move from the concept of “school”, with school calendar and kinds of activities, to the one of “cultural centre”, with more kinds of activities, all around the year.



Hofstede’s Findings: Preferred Organization Types in Scandinavian Countries58 Low Power Distance (PDI) and Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI) scores, as in Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian Countries, lead to a flat, not-centralized structures. Relations between individuals and units are often open to negotiation and improvisation (as in village markets). In these countries it is possible and less problematic the introduction of a matrix structure. This structure, which main characteristic is giving two chiefs to each subordinate, is created to face the increasing complexity of the activity and the environment. It requires a new way of thinking and an acceptance of the uncertainty in hierarchical relations, and it is expensive in terms of time of negotiation and decision.

Organization Chart Kulturskolan has a divisional matrix organization: the structure is subdivided into independent units and have cross-overs to connect common activities in different units. The organization has been made flatter in the last couple of years, this has lead to a better School control and more adequate timeliness and accuracy of information for the Head of the School59. The following figure represents Kulturskolan organization chart as it is today.

58 59

Geert Hofstede, Culture’s Consequences, 2nd ed., 2001, pp.372-421 “…so this is the new organization, and so far I think it has worked very good, because in the old organization there was a chief between me and the other chiefs of unit, so I took them away and made the organization flatter. Now I think it works better, because I got more adequate information, earlier I hadn’t that feeling, they were not lying but they always say ‘everything is ok’, so that was the problem. Now I think I have a school control, as you can have in such a big organization, because total control is impossible. We have 13 000 square meters of premises around town and among those there are 16 theatre, and we are in 70 schools in 250 rooms, so you can understand that is impossible for me as a chief to be everywhere. You have to depend on that… So I think it’s like a miracle. We are sitting here and now everything is working out there.” (Hans Skoglund)


The structure is therefore decentralized: Chiefs of Unit independently decide how to reach goals given by the Head of the School60, who respects their choices and explanations about the possibility or not to reach those goals. The Head of the School can put pressure on goals and gives resources and conditions about how to use them61, but the final responsibility of choices is on the Chief of Unit. For this reason this system has been defined “decentralized with common goals”.

“I put general goals like the number of pupils they should increase, but I know that is not always possible because they must have proper teachers, premises, equipment, etc.” (Hans Skoglund) 61 For example: we have long queues in piano and guitar and I’m prepared to give resources for 3 new teachers in those subjects, but they should be teachers that have group education. They should be able to teach in studios where they have 6 keyboards, so one teacher can take 6 pupils. They should not be ordinary teachers, they should be ‘such teachers’. So that is what I told them yesterday, and they asked me premises where it is possible to do this. I want these 3 teachers to have 500 pupils, they should be prepared to do that when they are hired. In that way I can guide their choices.” (Hans Skoglund)



Kulturskolan structure is composed by: The Head of the School; IPPU (Information, Production and Pedagogical Development): is the organ responsible for pedagogy, as well as the lease of instruments62 and the School’s library; PEA (Personnel, Economics and Administration): is a support unit for the Activity Units; 12 Activity Units (Divisions): one for each area of Stockholm. They have one Chief of Unit, their own Administration and a Staff (between 25 to 35 people) under him/her. Chiefs have all the responsibility: they set the salaries, they should reach the goals and decide how to do it. Every unit is like a Culture School working unit, even if they have very good support from the headquarter: PEA, IT remote support, etc.; Subject groups: it is transversal in respect to the Activity Units. There is at least one for each subject. It makes possible for teachers of the same instruments to communicate and meet if it is needed; Cooperation with Schools: its function is to connect different schools to deal and talk about special problems they have in common; Projects & Development Unit: it is responsible for different kinds of special projects and activities63. Goals are given by the politicians, then are discussed among chiefs and Head of the School, finally the Head of the School gives specific goals to each Unit Chief. Unit Chiefs have to report periodically to the Head of the School.64 Therefore the job of the Head of the School and the other Chiefs is to translate political goals into School’s activities. The staff is constituted by 345 teachers and 45 people employed in the administration and management. The two roles are generally separated. Some teachers are half-time administrators as for a specific request by the Teachers’ Unions. It has been found out that both teachers and chiefs are perfectly “distributed” among sexes (50% males, 50% female). But this is not a requirement, and it was not obtained by design. Moreover, there is no difference between sexes also coming to salaries. The School aims also to have a significant part of the personnel coming from other countries, because “if you are a type of multicultural country, it is very important that the culture institutions also have that in the Staff.”65

62 63

Approximately 10.000 instruments that pupils can borrow from us for a small amount of money. “…for instance we have a very big holiday for Santa Lucia (she was from Italy, I think, from Sicily), we have a very nice evening with around 400 pupils and a public of 1200 people in the town hall in Stockholm, where we have a ‘Lucia light’, a performance with all those kids.” (Hans Skoglund) 64 See § 3.9 65 From Hans Skoglund’s interview.


Admin. & Mgmt 11,5%

COMPOSITION OF KS PERSONNEL (both Teachers and Chiefs)

Fem. 50%

Males 50%

Teachers 88,5%

Autonomy and Accountability of Each Member and Unit Under the umbrella of political goals and vision, each chief and teacher is autonomous, but the Head of the School is responsible in the end, as for a written delegation of responsibility. In case of problems the Head of the School cannot fire School’s personnel, because of a law about public employees. There is no way to do it. They can be moved to other functions, but not dismissed. Sometimes, of course, this is a limit for the management, but, in another way it is seen as a “more human way to deal with problems, very care taking of people problems.66” A slightly different situation have the Chiefs of Unit, who have 3 years contracts, therefore, at the end of the contract, if the Head of the School is not satisfied, they can be changed. The Head of the School chooses the new Chiefs of Unit. The former Chief will still be employed by the Cchool but in another position.

Relations with the Institution to Which the School Belong Kulturskolan belongs to the Stockholm public administration. The relations are strong and very important for the School. This is recognized as one of greatest competitive advantages and reasons of the success and continuance of the School, even if sometimes the relations are too much bureaucratic, the process of taking decisions and making changes too long and it has to pass too many different stages and people before it reaches a result. But again, if seen from another point of view, this have positive implications and motivations. Moreover, this is how

“We don’t dismiss, we talk to them and try to make them understand, because it is impossible to dismiss employees in Stockholm. I mean, it’s a very long process, I can, as a chief, say ‘I don’t like how you behave in this respect, you have to change your behaviour. Next time, if you behave like that again, I’ll give you a warning’, then you can give them a written warning, then you also have to talk to the union, if this teacher is connected to the union. And, if it happens that the teacher do the same thing again, you can give a second warning, and a third warning, then, after that, you can have a discussion if he should stay in this school. So that is a very long process, I think there should be 3 warning, before you can discuss to separate him/her from the work. It’s a very slow system, but what it gives is that you have to think about the way you work and talk together.” (Hans Skoglund)



the public administration works and, as Mr.Skoglund says, “this is the situation, it is like it is, everybody knows and accepts it”67. For further details see in particular § 3.2, 3.4 and 3.5.


Style of Management

Hofstede’s Findings: Preferred Styles of Management in Scandinavian Countries68 Low Power Distance (PDI) scores, as in Anglo-Saxon, German and Scandinavian Countries, lead to a democratic style of management with participation and consultation of the Staff. In these countries subordinates: expect to be consulted, have weak need for dependence on chiefs, criticize symbols of power and social status, can go directly to top management in case of complaints, etc.

The Style of Management has been defined as “democratic with dialogue, but where the Head is responsible according to the delegation order. Chiefs decide, but the Staff has possibilities, through focus groups and meetings, to express its point of view and suggestions.”69 The rights and claims of the personnel are also defended and expressed by their Unions. They can comment every choice and person in the School, but in the end, the final decision is taken by the Head of the School, who can decide whether to listen to them or not. Then, if they are not satisfied, they will search for other ways to make the Head change his mind. “That is our way in Sweden to work with these things, I have always to negotiate decisions, but the important thing is to have the possibility to listen”, confirmed Mr.Skoglund. The relations among managers and between managers and teachers are cooperative and generous, which is seen as fundamental for the activities “because we are like artists: you can’t force a person to make Amlet on stage, he should feel being Amlet, so they should be fulfilled, and therefore you have to work with them in a good way. ‘Coaching’70 is a good word, to make them realize that there’s a lot of joy in it, to make them curious and hungry,
67 68

From Hans Skoglund’s interview. Geert Hofstede, Culture’s Consequences, 2nd ed., 2001, pp.372-421 69 From Hans Skoglund’s interview. 70 “A coach is a person who teaches and directs another person via encouragement and advice.” (taken from “Wikipedia – the free encyclopedia”, see “References”). The ‘Coaching’ approach is very popular and discussed in Sweden.


because just pointing with the hand is impossible, otherwise they would say ‘I can’t do that’. Consequently, chiefs have to be generous, firm according to the goals, but with an ongoing dialog about the tasks.”71 The School has no written rules on ‘how to behave’, managers “try to make people understand what is right” instead.72 They have an ongoing communication with the Staff, which means giving them positive feedbacks about their work, praising them if they deserve it, but also being firm and straight if there is something negative about their behaviour. This is not always easy73, “but you have to train as a chief to be correct.”74 Each problem has to be solved at the proper level of responsibility, if possible. As mentioned before (§3.5), chiefs deal with problems through discussions and negotiation, no “hard hand” is used and it is not possible to dismiss teachers or other School’s personnel.

“Teachers know who is head in the organization, they know who is unit leader, they know that I am the chief. But the head doesn’t need to use the position… in Sweden, I think, we are very informal in that aspect75” said Hans Skoglund, the Head of the School, and it is also confirmed by the informal but professional atmosphere of the Kulturskolan’s headquarters76. Participation of personnel on the decision making process is a priority. All decisions are finally taken by the person in charge of them77, but after a series of moments (working place meetings, focus groups, developing groups, Unions, personal contacts, etc.) where every person in the organization can bring ideas, indicate problems and suggest solutions. The School’s activities are spread around all the capital (270 rooms in 70 schools) and among the different cultural expressions and projects, therefore a great importance is given to
71 72

From Hans Skoglund’s interview. “I think that is ridiculous to write rules on behaviour, because we are grown-up people, we live in a society, many have kids, families… you can’t say to them how to behave, you can say it afterwards, if the behaving is wrong, I mean, such things happen, then you can talk and try to get to know about what he has done…That’s may opinion… For example, we don’t smoke in this school but we haven’t written that anyway, we take that for granted, people go out to smoke. It’s the same with the mobile phone, sometimes someone forget it, and we just say ‘remember’ (while the one with it is blushing!)… I think we have another way of solving it.” (Hans Skoglund) 73 Especially in setting salaries, also because in Sweden the salaries of public employees are official. “I noticed that my sub-chiefs don’t like to set the lower salaries, even if this person deserves a low salary, it’s easier to take it up a little, because then you don’t have those difficult discussions afterwards. So that is human in a way, but you have to train as a chief to be correct. Because if you set an higher salary to a person that doesn’t do anything, in the other end there’s a person doing a lot, and that person can ask ‘Why should s/he is having more?’. (Hans Skoglund) 74 From Hans Skoglund’s interview. 75 “I worked close to the politicians earlier, the Culture Minister of Sweden was an old friend of mine and when I was phoning him he was answering himself in the office… I know that a lot of people from abroad think that it is incredible. So he is like a good picture for me…” (Hans Skoglund) 76 Doors open, people busy working, some drinking coffee and discussing about activities in the School’s kitchen, casual dresses, everyone, from teachers to the Head of the School, is very polite, available (as much as possible), but straight and clear when they have to, etc. 77 At the proper level of responsibility.


meetings and to availability through telephone and emails, to keep the organization connected and informed. Anyone, inside and outside the organization, can easily contact Kulturskolan personnel, at any level. Direct email and mobile phone number of each member of the Central Administration and of the Activity Units are easily available from the School’s website and everyone answer directly and rapidly to emails78 and phone calls79. Even so, working time is respected, except in case of emergencies or urgent need, because it is seen as a right for a committed Staff that work hard during day time (and more, “sometimes too much”) for School’s activities. Furthermore the Staff is constantly informed about the School’s life through the updated School website, emails, papers, discussions and meetings, etc. According to Mr. Skoglund, “if the Staff is informed, they feel better, they can influence and criticize decisions. I don’t believe anything about this old type of management, similar to military organization, it is impossible in these days and in artistic organizations. People should listen to each other, with heart, and think about good solutions. So I think the most important thing is information and make the staff be self-confident, also towards me. I think you have to solve those problems in that way instead of just using power. Because when you don’t talk to them, you have a lot of unsatisfied people around, so you have to meet these unsatisfied people to try to reach them and understand what they really want.”

The Style of Management completely fits the complex reality described in § 2.4. According to Mr. Skoglund, “organizations are always ‘organic’ in a way: we can change very fast if we see that it’s not working, we don’t have a lot of thinking, we say ‘ok, let’s test another way’. Because I also think that we are living in a time when you can’t say ‘ok, let’s work like this for 10 years’, it is impossible, the next day something happens that makes things change. So you also have to be very sensible, and find smart solutions for sometimes short, sometimes longer periods.”

78 79

“It’s a big and widely spread school, therefore e-mail is common and direct…” (Hans Skoglund) “Within one day”, as it is written in the paper called “what can our costumer expect from us”, given to pupils’ parents. 80 See § 2.4




Hofstede’s Findings: Motivation Patterns in Scandinavian Countries81 Low Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI) and Masculinity (MAS) scores, as in Scandinavian Countries, entail the research and use of motivations by results and belonging. Results will be measured as collective success that respect the quality of human relationships and the living environment.

The Personnel of Kulturskolan Stockholm is constituted by 345 teachers and 45 people employed in the administration and management. In this analysis I refer to Staff as a synonymous of School’s teachers (administrators and managers are analyzed in § 3.6 and 3.8), while I use Personnel to include both teachers and administrators.

Main qualities The School’s teachers have been defined as skilled, committed, curious, creative, in a word, fantastic, one of the Kulturskolan’s major assets. “The School is proud of them and they have to be proud of the School”, this is the message that Kulturskolan’s managers try to communicate to the personnel and what most of them feel about their institute. It is fundamental for them to feel joy in their work and understand that they are a part of a fantastic School.82 A consequence of the joy and commitment that most of the Staff put in their work is that they tend to desire too high quality for everything they do, requiring too many resources, putting too much efforts and working too much for every single thing they do. The job for them is not only a job, but it absorbs all their energies and it becomes almost as a voluntary activity. This is a common problem for persons working in the art and cultural field, where their first passion becomes their job. So this is a problem to face for the organization, as Kulturskolan’s Head pointed it out: “It is very important to find the dimension in what we are doing. You should always say ‘what is the limit for this’, it’s very important.” (see “Quality” in § 3.4)

Geert Hofstede, Culture’s Consequences, 2nd ed., 2001, pp.372-421 “…for me this is really important, all through my life I have to be proud, in all works I have done, I had to have this proud feeling, because that is my energy, I don’t think I could work somewhere if I’m not proud, if it’s lousy between people and I don’t find anything that is stimulating.” (Hans Skoglund)



Types of contracts Types of contracts are essentially three: Short term contract: for temporarily substituting a teacher for holidays, sickness, study periods, etc. And then, after having worked like that for 3 years83, they have the right to obtain a lifetime contract; Lifetime contract: teachers are employed by the town of Stockholm. Then the School can no more dismiss them. Almost all teachers have this type of contract; Contract for a project: it must be clearly defined, with a start and an end. The Unions must approve it. The rules are very strict and protect the teachers’ rights, much more than in other European countries. There are 8 Unions who defend teachers’ rights, and the management of the School must negotiate with each of them for any important issue. There are no volunteers in the organization. Some university students come to practise in the School, but no real volunteer or community service people84 work at Kulturskolan. Autonomy in methods and contents As already mentioned, the heads decide frames and direction, the teachers choose methods. They are not allowed to go in the opposite direction, but “if they zigzag towards it, that is human and chiefs have to respect what ability they have to work with.”85 The organization is for this reason defined “decentralized with common goals: it is the creativity of staff that is our soul but we have to have common goals.” A lot of emphasis is given to the constant repetition of School’s values and goals, until everybody shares the same direction. This is not easy to obtain, it is an ongoing process where managers are required to have patience and leave the teachers the time they need to adapt and feel as their own new ideas and objectives (time of acceptance). Therefore, for example, the School does not force teachers and pupils to do group lessons. Kulturskolan is based on trust towards its teachers, not in controlling them. Sometimes chiefs attend the lessons or activities, and this is not seen as control, but as an opportunity to have a comment on their work and a feedback of ideas and opinions. (for more details about the Controlling System see § 3.9)


“So we have to look out that those teachers we don’t like, don’t pass these 3 years, because if you are not a good teacher normally you don’t have a lot of fantasy, and you won’t find another job, so if they are 25 they would be here for 40 years!” (Hans Skoglund) 84 “We don’t have it, but I’m positive if we start that, I think we would have a lot of possibilities to take kids, and some kids would love to work in our schools.” (Hans Skoglund) 85 From Hans Skoglund’s interview.


Stress is also given to cooperation among personnel, on being generous more than being competitive. Of course some competitive attitudes are present in some of the teachers, but generally they help each other. The aim, expressed by the School and increasingly present in the organization, is that everyone should be happy for the success of others. Selection The School’s Chiefs decide selection’s criteria and who is to be hired. Now they are focusing more on teachers with group education. For example this is condition for the Activity Chiefs to obtain the resources to hire 3 new teachers this year86. In the future they will search more and more for “broad teachers”, in the sense that they have to be able to work in different ways. This is because Kulturskolan operates in many different environments (ordinary schools, leisure clubs, etc.), not only in Music Schools with one-to-one lessons. Therefore teachers will have to have not only skills, but also creativity to adapt to different situations. Training Teachers’ contract provides for about 100 hours every year they can use to raise competences. Twice a year the “future days” are organized (see § 3.3), where there are discussions about School’s activities and lecturers. Moreover, the European Social Fund gave the School contributions for 30 days of education to raise the competence among the Staff and train it with the modern ways of teaching, to make it employable in the today’s society. Advancements Advancements in career are on the base of merit. “There has been a change in Sweden in the last decades” declared Mr. Skoglund, “Earlier they were much more connected to age.” Turnover Kulturskolan has been described as a rather stable organization, also because for music teachers there are not many other comparable opportunities. Even so, a certain number of teachers do change over the years because of retirements, other music activities, someone who asks for a period of study87 , etc. Some problems had been detected a few years ago when it was observed that 25% of the Staff was over 55, therefore near its retirement. In this regard a careful policy of new employments have been realized.

2005. It is a special right that teachers in Sweden have: they can ask to leave the job for a certain period to deepen their studies, but they keep the right to have it back afterwards.



3.8 Skills
Skills and Background of the Management Most of the School’s chiefs were teachers in the beginning. A lot of them have also become project leaders for ordinary schools. Many employed in the Central Administration and in specific task of the organization (IT, economics, etc) have, instead, a different background. I will now focus more on the distinctive capabilities of Mr. Skoglund, the Head of Kulturskolan Stockholm, because he is a good example of skilled Swedish manager and, as all chiefs, he has a great role in the present and future development of his organization.


Mr. Hans Skoglund, or Hasse Skoglund, as he is called in the School’s magazine, was hired as Head of Kulturskolan Stockholm in 2001, with a 5 years contract. Previously he was the Head of Kulturskolan Örebro, the second biggest Culture School in Sweden, with a staff of around 120 teachers at that time. Before that assignment he had worked for a very big theatre for 15 years. His major subjects at the university were mathematics, physics, information technique and film science 89. He is 61 years old now. From Örebro he has brought many ideas as for example the BAS-teams, the “future days” and a great experience in dealing with public administration and media90. He seems to be a great Swedish manager in a fantastic Swedish organization. In this regard, all considerations made about Kulturskolan’s managers (§ 3.6), even if not repeated here, can be applied to him. His main characteristics and points of strength appear to be: Clear vision, but open minded and curious, therefore ready to make changes to adapt to the new reality; Communication and negotiation: in dealing with the politicians, with the Staff (in meetings, lectures, etc.)91 and with media; Warm heart, but straight and clear if it is needed;
Apart from actual facts, Mr.Skoglund description is based on personal impressions received during my oneday visit at Kulturskolan Stockholm. I know that a more in depth acquaintance would have been necessary to have a better and more exhaustive impression about him. Anyway, it is important to stress that the purpose here is to give some ideas about Music School management and managers, not to describe anybody. My excuses and, once more, my thanks go to him. 89 Bachelor of science. 90 “When I was in Örebro it was rather easy, I could decide in the morning that I wanted a press conference, and media came. I wrote that we should have been in the newspaper every week, but I didn’t succeed, it was only every second week. But it was a tremendous flow, everybody was talking about this School and saying ‘oh God! Much happens!...’, but it was not new things that happened, it was old things lifted up, but they talked about us, and that is very important. My idea was: ‘the newspapers should have us as the good news’.” (Hans Skoglund) 91 Which is particularly important in such a big organization.


Enthusiasm, passion and joy for his work; Experience Respected and able to build consensus and agreements.



Informative System
Kulturskolan has a computerized system with an extended data bank for pupils in subject courses, who pay a fee. The School sends out bills to their parents, checks payments, contacts them, etc. There is no data collection for the new types of courses (in ordinary schools, leisure clubs, short courses, “young 08”, etc.), their participants are just counted. A data bank has been introduced this year to improve the data collection and its possibility to provide statistics about trends in the School. The use of computers is also important for teachers, to communicate, be informed and learn. This idea lead to a relevant further investment in IT92, so that now there is a computer every 4 teachers93.

Meetings: The Cultural Litmus Test According to Pascale and Athos, “Meetings are the cultural litmus test. Culture asserts its invisible presence on patterns of day-to-day communications. Meetings are the best known mechanism for efficient information sharing, for accomplishing collective problem solving and coordinated action.” 94 For Kulturskolan’s managers meetings are a part of the everyday activity. Working place meetings, subject meetings, project meetings, in unit groups, in the corridors, influence and determine School’s agenda and working schedule95. Some of the meetings are more formal (time is set and there is an agenda), others are more informal. They are the most important mean by which any member of the organization can influence his choices and participate.
92 93

Information technology. Before it was one computer every 12 teachers. 94 R.T.Pascale, A.G.Athos, The Art of Japanese Management, 1981, p.130 95 “This type of work is that when you’re coming to work, you don’t know really what will happen, sometimes things happen during the day and you have to leave it all to do something else, so it has always to be variant and flexible.” (Hans Skoglund)


Some of the most important meetings in the agenda of the Head of the School are: With the Culture Director and a small group of Chiefs (of the Library of Stockholm, the Culture House, the Culture School and some more): meet every 14th day, with 7 or 8 persons; Leading group of the Culture School (the Head of the School, three Unit Chiefs, Economist, PA-Consultant, Investigation Secretary and Chief of Development): meet every 14th days; With all the Kulturskolan’s Chiefs: the 14th days in alternation; The Free Chiefs’ Forum: an afternoon every month, where Chiefs, not the Head of the School, set the agenda96; With the Centre Union Leader: “information meeting” every 3rd week. The C.U.L. says what they would like to obtain and the Head explains what the School is doing, so that they can comment it.

Planning, Budgeting and Controlling Systems
Hofstede’s Findings: Planning and Controlling Systems in Scandinavian Countries97 In countries with low Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI) and Power Distance (PDI) scores, as the Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian ones, the P&C system is less detailed, the Staff participate in planning and accept big changes, the control system is based on trust in subordinates, norms support “strategic” and long-term thinking98. According to the Kulturskolan’s Head, “when you have 350 teachers and 31.000 participants, you can’t be a control organization, you have to trust” and further on he declared, “now I think I have the control of the school that is possible in such a big organization, because total control is impossible99”. These sentences explain the basic idea of trust upon which is built the budgeting and controlling system of the School. Even when Chiefs attend
“…because they always say: ‘you are setting the agenda…we are talking about your things, and we have no time to talk about ours…”, so then we decided to test that model, where I don’t say anything, just sitting listening…” (Hans Skoglund) 97 Geert Hofstede, Culture’s Consequences, 2nd ed., 2001, pp.372-421 98 Even if all European and Western countries are generally short-term oriented, on the contrary of the Eastern ones, as explained by the fifth dimension (LTO) added by Hofstede in the second edition of Culture’s consequences (2001). 99 “We have 13 000 square meters of premises around town and among those there are 16 theatres, and we are in 70 schools in 250 rooms, so you can understand that is impossible for me as a chief to be everywhere. You have to depend on that. So I think it’s like a miracle. We are sitting here and now everything is working out there.” (Hans Skoglund)


the lessons or activities, it is not seen as control, but more as the possibility to have a feedback of ideas and comments that may help the teacher to improve his/her way of teaching. There is, of course, a certain amount of control on the realization of goals, like for instance the number of pupils, but also in this case, objections or explanations are accepted (see § 3.6 and 3.7). This attitude seems to be in line with the Scandinavian cultural attitude, that does not put too much emphasis on control100. Another important idea is the importance of participation in the process: “when you are changing attitude, you can’t do it by order, it comes from heart and understanding”101. These general ideas lead to a system of controls and reports not complex, complete and systematic like some may expect for such a big organization102. Main papery reports are: From the Activity Units’ Chiefs: every 4 months103 on the economics of each Units; For the Culture Director: summary for the same periods; For the Culture Department: summary for the same periods and every year, a budget and a final statement that compares results with those from last year, with statistics.

Economic Valuations

Total revenues of Kulturskolan Stockholm in 2005 were about 11,9 million euros.
Fees 13%

City Council 87%

This is possible, of course, only in countries where there is a general observance of unwritten rules and trust. (Hans Skoglund) 102 As examples: “yes, in a way we can see on every teacher in this new system I told you about, but we have only one figure for each teacher, and some teachers are working in 2/3 units, so they are very complex figures to take out…but we have methods to find out if the teacher is doing what he should, and we are making that better all the time… but we can’t connect the cost of a teacher with the revenues of his/her pupils, that could be interesting, but more difficult.” “Do you have statistics for age distribution of students? Length of attendance?...” “that is possible in that system…but I don’t think we take out that all the time…” 103 Before it was every 3 month.



The above figure shows the dependence of funds coming from the Public Administration for Kulturskolan Stockholm and, broadly, the importance of public funds for cultural activities in Sweden. Therefore, it is fundamental for the School to keep good relations with the politicians, regardless of the political side of the counterpart. This, of course, means that all the possible efforts in this direction are deployed and that these types of particular skills are present in the management (§ 3.8). Another consequence, as seen in § 3.4, is that School’s decisions do not directly depend on fees, but on more general and political objectives.

other costs 3% Administration Salaries 9%

Production of Activities 2%

Teaching Salaries 65%

Premises 21%

“Premises” include equipments. “Other costs” include: general and administrative expenses, computers, telephone and advertising.

The figure illustrates that the majority of the expenditures comes from personnel costs (74%). A relevant part is also assigned to premises and equipment (21%), while little resources (about 1%) are allocated to communication and advertising (included in “other costs”), as seen in § 3.4. Pricing decisions are described in §3.4. Non-economic Valuations
18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Age

The graph shows Kulturskolan’s target market (§3.4) and average age of participants. 58



Males 45% Females 55%

Percussions 4% Vocals & Choir 4% other instruments 2%

Flute 6%

Piano & Keybords 26%

String Instruments 15% Wind Instruments 25%

Guitar 17%

(This figure changes significantly over the years, for example guitar grows to 24% at 13 years old) PUPILS’ SATISFACTION

Pupils’ satisfaction and desires have been investigated and analysed in a special research made by the School in 2003. Now it has been decided that a similar study will be repeated every five years by the Stockholm City Cultural Department.

The investigation made in 2003 pointed out that after 2 years 40% of pupils leave the School, and that only 30% of the ones who started at 6-9 years old continues until 12. This result has been discussed in meetings on how to structure courses where some teachers, have a perspective of 10 years training to reach the best results, said that is a type of handicap for the School. On the contrary, managers claimed that this is a wrong attitude to the problem: they should give the best in 2 years to pupils104.


“…if they are just sitting playing boring exercises for 2 years, a lot of pupils remember that as awful, so you should give them something, and then give the chance to continue to those who want to go afterwards.” (Hans Skoglund)



Kulturskolan aims also to reach a satisfactory ethnic balance, which is considered 2/3 of Swedes, 1/3 of non-Swedes105 , that is the current ethnic mix in Stockholm. This is an ideal target measure for Kulturskolan’s managers, but it cannot be calculated: the School doesn’t have the right to make statistics on these matters, because they could be used improperly.

No rigorous system for the performance evaluation of teachers is applied106.

No extensive and systematic analysis is carried out. The School now cooperate with a PR agency to develop a strategy. Changes are expected in the near future (see § 3.4).

Incentive System
There are no economic incentives based on results. Salaries are fixed in the monthly amount and set in consideration of the responsibility, therefore, of course, Chiefs have an higher salary.

3.10 Overall S-Consistency of the School
All 7 S’s of Kulturskolan Stockholm and the external environment (Sweden and Stockholm) appear aligned, connected together in a consistent way and contribute to the School’s success. The following figure is a graphic representation of the S-Consistency of the School.

105 106

With one parent coming from another country See footnote number 102.



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