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Resources/Ideas to counter a cost benefit analysis mentality?

Can any forum member suggest ideas or resouces to make the case in support of music and the arts in a religious institutional setting where the management mindset appears to be to justify programming and spending decisions in terms of a corporate cost benefit analysis approach?  That is, where budgetary and performance evaluation decisions are strongly driven by ensemble size and growth rate, and program success determined strictly by the percentage participation of the general membership and/or the rate of growth in the program?  Is a bigger choir always a better choir? 
Replies (5): Threaded | Chronological
on April 23, 2010 6:53am
Just yesterday I attended a nonprofit forum featuring Michael Edwards, who spoke on the topic of his latest book, "Small Change: Why Business Won't Save the World."  In the controversial book, he presents evidence to challenge the currently popular notion that nonprofits should be evaluated, funded, and managed according to capitalistic/market principles and models.  Although your situation is not exactly the same, it sounds like an outgrowth of the same mentality.  I would highly recommend picking up a copy:  www.amazon.com/Small-Change-Business-Wont-World/dp/1605093777
on April 23, 2010 8:41am
Just exactly the kind of thing I was looking for, Phil.  Thank you so much!    -David
on April 27, 2010 10:42pm
David:  It's interesting that I've just been going through all the problems the Christian Church had from the 14th through the 16th centuries in one of my classes, and one of those problems was the Enron/Goldman Sachs mindset which equated greed with virtue.
 
Robert's comment from a marketing professor is interesting, but it seems to confuse marketing with quality, just as the mentality you quote seems to be flailing around trying to equate cost/benefit with quality.  Neither one really works for me.
 
But when my Mom was president of the Seattle Philharmonic Board, they found that adding experienced and successful businesspeople to the Board was a wonderful improvement because those people were movers and shakers, were used to getting things done, and knew how to get them done.  THAT is a good use of business skills.  Trying to apply inappropriate business theories and models is not.  But we at the state universities have to fight that fight continuously, with state legislators who think of us as a "business" that should "pay its own way" without ever quite defining who our "customers" actually are.  Oh well, there are no intelligence tests required of politicians!
 
All the best,
John
on April 28, 2010 9:26am
Great points all, John.  Thanks so much for your comments!      -David
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