Managing Change: Anytown Art Gallery

Managing Change: Anytown Art Gallery

Managing Change MGMT862

Anytown Art Gallery 2020

  • You are required to draw from the course readings from MGMT862 to critically analyse the planning, process, and implementation of the changes at Anytown Art Gallery.
  • Imagine you are a change consultant while you read and analyse the Anytown Art Gallery case.
  • Analyse how well the organisation managed the changes for all stakeholders in the case.
  • Identify three key aspects of the change process that might have been improved.
  • Apply relevant evidence-based research literature from the MGMT862 course readings (Study guide p.6) about: communicating with stakeholders, collaboration and engaging support, responding to resistance, organisational culture, human resource change management, leading change, negotiating conflict and change.
  • Demonstrate application of APA 6th edition referencing in-text and in the reference list.
  • Provide a copy of one of your contributions to your group’s annotated bibliography.

This assessment aims to meet the following paper learning outcomes:

  • Critically evaluate the complexity of organisational change from a range of perspectives
  • Examine and apply theories, concepts, and practices of leading and managing change in organisations
  • Analyse the role of human resource management in facilitating effective organisational change management
  • Demonstrate the importance of ethics and communication in the change process
  • Critically evaluate the outcomes of organisational change from different stakeholder perspectives

Anytown Art Gallery 2020

There have been  problems at Anytown Art Gallery.  In August 2019, the Board of Anytown Art Gallery decided two new strategic goals; to increase local patronage and increase pre-tax revenue by 15%. Social media and new ticketing technology had identified low patronage from youth and mid-life permanent residents of Anytown. While tourist visits had increased residents of Anytown no longer perceived the Art Gallery as innovative. The local competitor: Anytown Centre for Arts and Technology, offered event space for conferences and was reporting increased revenue and patronage. While the Board of Anytown Art Gallery decided the strategic goals for change, the process was to be planned and implemented by management.  Unfortunately, the change process was unsuccessful.  Conflict spread throughout the Art Gallery community and deeply held cultural values fuelled differences between individuals and groups.   The problems were dynamic. What began as organisational change escalated to employment relationship problems threats of litigation in the courts and damage to key internal and external stakeholder relationships.


Anytown has a population of approximately 2 million people. The Art Gallery is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s leading tourist attractions. Located in the country’s largest city on an isthmus overlooking a beautiful harbour in the Ngāti Whatua region, Anytown Art Gallery owns a world-famous collection of Maori and Pacific paintings and  artefacts. But there have been problems implementing change at the Art Gallery since the appointment of a new CEO from New York, one year ago. The following chronology of events outlines the problems and issues.

July 2019 The Board of Anytown Art Gallery held a farewell event for the retiring Chief Executive Officer of 20yrs service and at the event announced two new strategic goals; firstly, to increase local patronage from a younger demographic and secondly to increase pre-tax revenue by 15%. The Head Curator managed the Art Gallery in the interim until the appointment of a new Director /Chief Executive Officer.

 August 2019 Dr Diva Daga a famous installation artist from North America was appointed first woman Director and Chief Executive Officer of the. During recruitment, Dr Daga gave a presentation to staff and said, “I have a vision for outstanding curation of installations and inter-cultural collaboration with the patrons”.

September 2019 Dr Diva Daga started work at the Art Gallery. She rarely attended curator meetings, worked in her office with the door shut and appeared particularly dis-interested in any social contact with staff except her personal assistant. She had an abrupt manner and commented that she was busy identifying efficiencies, organisational change and finding new benefactors to help fund her ideas.

November 2019 The Art Gallery was struggling to increase revenue. However, a young professional audience was beginning to patronise the Gallery, hire the newly renovated function room for weddings and corporate functions were beginning to get good social media reviews expanding the Art Gallery’s visibility in the community. Dr Daga intended to grow the young professional market. Her staff from her last position in New York wished to immigrate to New Zealand for work and help her realise her vision. However, issues emerged. Dr Daga sent all staff a formal letter saying she was restructuring their roles. The 52year old Head Curator was told verbally by Dr Daga that he would have to reapply for a position according to the new job description. He had seen an email on the office printer to Dr Daga’s former employees in North America about recruitment for new jobs at the Art Gallery beginning in December 2019. He leaked the information to the press, social media and appeared on a Sunday night television documentary denigrating the changes proposed by the new CEO. The curators’ union criticised the proposed changes, and threatened strike action. Staff morale and trust was at an all-time low. There was uncertainty, rivalry, and resentment amongst the staff about who should apply for the new roles. Blogs and social media asserted that employees who are creative critical thinkers would lose their jobs and be replaced with ‘yes people, because the new CEO is difficult authoritarian, dismissive and inflexible’.

 December 21std 2019 Dr Daga withdrew her letters to staff claiming she was unaware of the New Zealand employment law required good faith negotiation during processes for restructuring. Dr Daga said she would consult with lawyers and reconsider the changes.  While jobs remained unchanged, staff were unsettled over the summer and returned to work in January 2020 unsure of Dr Daga’s true intentions for their jobs. Uncertainty about the possible restructure created stress and anxiety which was interpreted as secrecy about their future roles at the Museum.

 January 2020 Dr Daga had ignored negative press, made no comment when the journalists sought her views and told staff she would not engage in negotiation about forthcoming changes through the media. Meanwhile Dr Daga had contracted leading New York architect Neuro Schmitt to design a new interior fit out for the Art Gallery. Neuro had moved to Anytown on January 1st keen to meet patrons and learn about local culture. He got on well with staff and conversed with  them about how they used the exhibition spaces.

 6TH February 2020 A series of planned ‘supper talks’ was launched in the Art Gallery lobby. Advertised as ‘an inspiring intelligent innovation’, the evenings began with experts speaking on visual art and community identity, art and business innovation, art  history, philosophy of art, the politics of  art . Music, drinks, and entertainment followed the talks with networking for patrons and potential Art Gallery benefactors. The project was very successful and widely reported in the media as an excellent initiative of the new CEO, Dr Daga. John Te Whaiti Goodwood a sixty-year-old entrepreneur attended. He was very excited about the Art Gallery taking a contemporary approach to design and immediately struck a friendship with Neuro Schmitt. He pledged $3mil to the Art Gallery from the profits of his business ‘Kaitiakitanga Kai’ a farm to table supplier of organic ingredients for stylish meals accompanied by menus and recipes, delivered to homes weekly. The target market was time-poor professionals who worked long hours. He was planning to take the farm to table brand to New York and discussed opportunities with Neuro Schmitt.

 February 14th, 2020 A special exhibition “mysteries unveiled” of European water colour landscapes opened with negative news media focussed on closure of the permanent Goldie exhibition of Maori Kaumatua and Kuia. This had been a permanent exhibition replaced with the European exhibit. Maori and Pacifica paintings and artefacts were stored away to make room for the installation of the European water colour exhibition.  John Te Whaiti Goodwood sent an email of complaint stating he would not be honouring his pledge of 3mil unless they reinstated the Goldie paintings exhibition.March 2020 COVID-19 was spreading throughout the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a pandemic on 11 March 2020. As explained by the WHO Director-General, the impetus for declaring the pandemic was “the alarming levels of spread and severity, and … alarming levels of inaction”. On the evening of March 14th John Te Whaiti Goodwood returned from an overseas holiday and died suddenly in his sleep. His estate immediately formally withdrew the $3mil pledge and the children of John Te Whaiti Goodwood filed proceedings in the High Court for the immediate return of their great grandfather’s memorabilia that John had donated to the Art Gallery. The three feather cloaks and a painting of his grandfather wearing his war medals were requested for return to the family immediately. Dr Daga instructed the Head Curator not to relinquish the items. She stated they were property of the citizens of Anytown because they were bequeathed by John Te Whaiti-Goodwood long before his death. The Art Gallery Board decided to negotiate with the Estate of John Te Whaiti Goodwood for the pledge and retain the memorabilia. The Art Gallery intended to avoid the costs of lawyers and litigation in the courts. A team of consultants was appointed to lead a negotiation process to resolve all matters in dispute with the Estate of John Te Whaiti Goodwood, evaluate the problems and plan a more appropriate process for implementing change.

March 16th 2020 Diva Daga, the Head Curator and the chair of the Friends of the Art Gallery engaged in a heated conversation in front of patrons. The Head Curator challenged Dr Daga in the Art Gallery lobby asking why she had caused all the problems by interfering with relationships including local Iwi by disregarding the importance of the Maori installation. Dr Daga  screamed back at him in front of Art Gallery visitors, Neuro Schmitt the chair of the Friends of the Art Gallery and other staff asserting “you and your unions are just a bunch of bullies; I am sick and tired of the threats from you and your union mates. I will consider locking you all out of the workplace and replacing you with new international staff on contract. After reflecting on the incident Dr Daga wrote a formal complaint to the Board asserting, she was stressed and anxious. Consultants were immediately contracted to evaluate and plan for change and resolution of the problems. The Board aimed to act fairly to retain and strengthen relationships with customers, the Estate of John Te Whaiti Goodwood, Dr Daga, and current staff.

March 24th 2020 at mid night New Zealand moved to level 4 lockdown, anticipated to last four weeks to eradicate the disease from New Zealand by preventing community transmission of COVID 19. The Art Gallery was closed and new initiatives would be needed to retain patronage on reopening.  That four weeks was an opportunity to reflect on evidence-based processes and practises for organisational development and how best to manage change at Anytown Art Gallery.

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