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Leaders in Museums: Entrepreneurs or Role Models

International Journal of Arts Management 5/2, 4-14 (2003)

Abstract

Leadership is central to the future of any organization. However, museums do not always recognize this fact, instead importing management models from the private sector, which seldom emphasise best practice or encourage exploration of what contributes to outstanding success. Cost-cutting, restructuring or the use of performance indicators have not resulted in improved organizations.

The best museums emphasise cohesive leadership and visitor-focused programming. The best leaders build trust, encourage achievement and challenge assumptions; they put the achievement of success for the organization above that of their own personal greatness. How people work together and how decisions get made are key issues for museums and their boards.

Entrepreneurship in museums must aim to enhance the visitor experience; this means understanding the nature of learning, not simply making museums more entertaining. The focus of museum leaders and boards must be innovation and the search for genuine quality.