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Questionnaire On The Effective Management Of Museums

It is more effective for an organization to focus on outcome based goals – which describe the results [in terms of how those who are expected to benefit see them] of succeeding in the chosen strategies – than on the annual planning and budgeting cycle.

Douglas K. Smith 2000

Recent research about the management of museums (Des Griffin, Morris Abraham and John Crawford, Effective management of museums in the 1990s. Curator 42/1, 37-53, 1999) has revealed some of the important characteristics of effective museums. An abbreviated version of the questionnaire used in the research is being made available to those who would like to find out more about their museum. Analyses of the completed questionnaires include a comparison with some of the best museums in the world and will be accompanied by a commentary which will identify actions that can be taken to improve the museum’s performance.

Stones, Heaphy Track near Nelson, New Zealand (More)

The questionnaire is in two main parts: the first seeks demographic information about each individual respondent and the second seeks comments from the respondent’s perspective on the management practices most commonly used in their museum. The issues covered in the questionnaire concern leadership (behaviour of the senior managers), governance (behaviour of the board – or government agency if there is no board), Purpose (goals and resources), Structure (decision-making, teams, reporting), Training (including induction and rewards), Communication (including organizational learning) and Public Programs (exhibitions and education activities). There are 28 questions in all.

The person in each museum designated to take charge of the distribution and collection of the questionnaires should distribute up to twenty-five questionnaires on a random basis in the ratio of 1 senior manager (CEO or person reporting directly to the CEO) to two middle managers (others with line responsibilities) to two operations staff. Confidentiality should be guaranteed to ensure that answers are as honest as possible; respondents should be asked not to place their name or other identifying notation on the completed questionnaire.

The questionnaire is not a test: there are no right answers. The questionnaire takes about 15 minutes to fill in. When completed it, it should be placed in the envelope supplied (marked CONFIDENTIAL) and then whatever additional instructions have been given by the person in the museum managing the collection of the responses followed. Normally this would involve forwarding the envelope to a designated person in the museum. The total number of responses from each museum must be 12 or more to be a valid sample for the purpose of comparison with other museums.

Responses to the questionnaire, when analysed for the whole museum (including calculation of means and standard deviations for all respondents for each question), can be compared with the results from the analysis of 33 museums and information provided on how the museum compares with the best 11 in the already analysed sample and the average of the sample. The existing data includes responses from over 600 respondents from five countries, all administrative levels and all disciplines.

Upon request, a copy of the questionnaire and instructions can be emailed to you as an attachment. This can be downloaded, printed out, copied and distributed. The filled-in questionnaire responses can be collated by you or, for an additional fee, sent to me for analysis.

Should you wish to participate in this analysis of management practices in your museum please send me an email containing some information about your museum. A reference to the museum’s website would be quite sufficient.

You will receive a copy of the questionnaire which can be printed, downloaded and circulated together with relevant instructions