How do you measure culture? -A case study of result control within the Gothenburg Opera
Sammanfattning: Problem The culture sector is characterized by qualitative goals which raise questions such as how do you measure culture and what is “good” culture? Both the goals and the measurements tend to result in subjective judgments, which according to the theory make result control inefficient. Yet, result control is frequently used in the culture sector; which leads up to our research question: What characterizes the problems of result control in the culture sector? Purpose The aim of this study is to make a survey of how the Gothenburg Opera works with result control and follow-up. By defining how it tackles the different problems, which could arise with result control in a non-profit organisation, we aim to map how the problems regarding result control are characterized in the Gothenburg Opera. By linking our results to former research we intend to apply our results to the culture sector. Method Since we want to describe how the problems of result control are characterized in the culture sector the study is of a descriptive character. Further, the study has also a qualitative approach. Since we seek a deeper understanding of a problem through investigating one organisation a case study is the chosen approach. The case study was carried through by nine interviews with people working within the Gothenburg Opera, the Cultural Affairs committee and the Cultural Affairs secretariat. Conclusion Within the Gothenburg Opera we have identified that the qualitative goals make the measurement subjective. However, in general there are no great problems with these vague goals and subjective measures. The opera solves potential problems by having a well-functioning planning process together with follow-up and evaluation. Yet, the goals between the Gothenburg Opera and its principal, the Cultural Affairs committee, becomes subjective and a sort of self-judgement where the opera estimates its own performance. This raises the question whether a change in result depends on a change in performance or opinion. Since these objectives are not communicated within the opera, the result control may lose parts of its purpose. Suggestions A suggestion of further research is to compare a large culture organisation to a smaller organisation and to do case studies on several organisations. For a wider approach, we suggest to investigate all of the management control systems used in the culture sector.
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