Wednesday 10 December 2008
Reaction to the proposals
Employees have reacted furiously to the Director General’s suggestions. The idea of linking budgets to visitor numbers
has been greeted with dismay by the Director of Art and Architecture. ‘This is a dreadful idea and confuses popularity
with historical significance. As previous governments have realised, what is important is the value of the collection.
Heritage Collections recognise this significance by putting the nation’s interests before those of an undiscerning public.
As far as I am concerned, if they want to see fashion, they can look in the high street shops. Unlike fashion, great art
and architecture remains.’ The Director of Art and Architecture and the two professors who hold the Head of
Architecture and Head of Art posts have also lobbied individual members of the Board of Trustees with their concerns
about the Director General’s proposals.
The Director of Industrial Arts and the Director of Media and Contemporary Art have contacted powerful figures in
both television and the press and as a result a number of articles and letters critical of the Director General’s proposals
have appeared. A recent television programme called ‘Strife at the NM’ also featured interviews with various heads of
collections criticising the proposed changes. They were particularly critical of the lack of consultation; ‘these proposals
have been produced with no input from museum staff. They have been handed down from on high by an ex-grocer’,
said one anonymous contributor.
Eventually, the criticism of staff and their lack of cooperation prompted the Director General to ask the Board of
Trustees to publicly back him. However, only the two trustees appointed by the government were prepared to do so.
Consequently, the Director General resigned. This has prompted an angry response from the government which has
now threatened to cut the museum’s funding dramatically next year and to change the composition of the Board of
Trustees so that the majority of trustees are appointed directly by the government. The Minister of Culture has asked
the museum to develop and recommend a new strategy within one month.
(a) Analyse the macro-environment of the National Museum using a PESTEL analysis. (20 marks)
(b) The failure of the Director General’s strategy has been explained by one of the trustees as ‘a failure to understand
our organisational culture; the way we do things around here’.
Assess the underlying organisational cultural issues that would explain the failure of the Director General’s
strategy at the National Museum.
Note: requirement (b) includes 2 professional marks. (20 marks)