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ERIC Number: EJ899989
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0271-0560
The Rose Art Museum Crisis
Dillon, Paul
New Directions for Higher Education, n151 p83-92 Fall 2010
On January 26, 2009, the Brandeis University Board of Trustees voted unanimously to close the Rose Art Museum (Waltham, Massachusetts). The proceeds from the subsequent auction were to be reinvested in the university to ensure its long-term financial health. The reaction to the decision by campus constituencies provides a case study to show the complex nature of universities as organizations. It is widely acknowledged that administrative leadership at colleges and universities face constraints when implementing decisions that affect the long-term goals and mission of the university. However, organizational complexity does not alone explain why Brandeis leadership faced such resistance to the decision to close the Rose. It will be shown that aspects of Brandeis's organizational culture compounded the crisis. Several constituencies reacted in different ways to the decision, exposing a larger dissonance in the perceived mission of the university. Together, organizational culture, constrained leadership, and autonomously acting university constituencies combined, along with the presence of a financial crisis, to temporarily fracture Brandeis's collective sense of purpose and vision for the future. The Rose Art Museum crisis demonstrates that effective leadership requires not only a rational assessment of a university's financial and resource needs, it also requires a non-rational emotional component, an organizational EQ, that can harness the collective ambitions of different constituencies toward a commonly shared goal. If meaningful and legitimate relationships are not carefully cultivated and maintained through collaboration, coalition-building, and sheer political calculation, then situations like the Rose Art Museum are not only possible, but also likely.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts