bylaws, by-laws, governance, orchestra, symphony, arts
Bylaws serve as the skeleton of any nonprofit organization's administrative culture. They are the laws and rules that govern the internal affairs of an organization. (Pickett 2000) Since the primary function of bylaws is to support the effective management of operations, the examination of bylaws content is particularly relevant when looking for evidence of innovative adaptations to organizational change. As students of arts administration, the focus of the researcher's investigation centered on cultural organizations; symphony orchestras in this instance. Symphony orchestras, like other cultural organizations, must adapt to survive internal and external change. The reason for choosing to examine bylaws content was to look for business adaptations being made at the core of nonprofit business operations, where the framework for decision-making by the Board of Directors, Officers and administrators resides. There were two key research questions driving this investigation of symphony orchestra bylaws content. The first was; what governance policies are currently emerging in the symphony orchestra industry? The second was; what conditions prompted the emergence of these policy anomalies? The research design included a review of the literature relevant to the development of bylaws as used by U.S. symphony orchestras; qualitative and quantitative document analysis of bylaws obtained from a select group of participating organizations; and an opinion survey of several orchestra administrators whose organizations were found to contain unusual bylaws content. Contrary to the literature, the content and structure of bylaws that were examined varied a great deal. Policy anomalies were discovered as hypothesized, and some of these unusual policies offer solutions to current governance issues that other arts organizations may find beneficial as well. Included tables illustrate provision topics and their frequency of occurrence. Several recommendations for further study are indicated, and we conclude that bylaws are usually an underutilized, valuable and occasionally innovative tool for effective governance.
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Graduate Studies
Office of Liberal and Interdisciplinary Studies
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Loomis, Anita, "U.S. Symphony Orchestra Bylaws: Policy Anomalies And Trends" (2006). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 865.