Abstract: This paper reports on an exploratory and qualitative study of leadership in Australian arts organisations. Despite the large amount of research into leadership available in academic journals, little relates to leaders of the many organisations devoted to the arts. The few studies which do exist suggest that leadership in these organisations is often shared by an artistic director and a general manager. Arts literature suggests that these leaders work together to cope with the tension faced in arts organisations between the need to be creative, while at the same time complying with accepted management practices. The general view suggests that the artistic director should be the dominant partner. This study finds that shared leadership is common in arts organisations. However, the leaders may be a partnership of two - the artistic director and the general manager, as expected - but in large organisations there is likely to be a team of three or more people, similar to an executive team in other large organisations. Leadership by a single individual occurs in a minority of cases. The study also finds that the artistic director is not always dominant when working in partnership with a general manager.
To cite this article: Inglis, Loretta and Cray, David. Leadership in Australian arts organisations: A shared experience? [online]. Third Sector Review, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2011: 107-130.
[cited 23 Jun 17].