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Financial and Leadership Strengths and Weaknesses at Utah Symphony before the Merger Assignment/Case Study Solution

Financial and Leadership Strengths and Weaknesses at Utah Symphony before the Merger Assignment/Case Study Solution.

In the pre-merger era, both the Utah Symphony and the Opera had their own strengths and weaknesses. This section discusses these in detail in order to highlight the circumstances at the two organizations before the merger happened.

Compared to the Opera, the Utah Symphony was four times as large but also financially less stable. The strengths of Utah Symphony drew from the powerful reputation it enjoyed in the music scene in Utah. It was the second biggest orchestra company in the Utah State and one of the 20 leading orchestras in the United States. It was also the leading orchestra in the right Rocky Mountain States.

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A1. Financial and Leadership Strengths and Weaknesses at Utah Symphony before the Merger:

In the pre-merger era, both the Utah Symphony and the Opera had their own strengths and weaknesses. This section discusses these in detail in order to highlight the circumstances at the two organizations before the merger happened.

Compared to the Opera, the Utah Symphony was four times as large but also financially less stable. The strengths of Utah Symphony drew from the powerful reputation it enjoyed in the music scene in Utah. It was the second biggest orchestra company in the Utah State and one of the 20 leading orchestras in the United States. It was also the leading orchestra in the right Rocky Mountain States.

The weaknesses for each company were multi-dimensional in nature, and pertained to economic, marketing and human resource aspects. The boss at the Opera Company, namely Anne Ewers, was often criticized for having an autocratic style of ruling that made it difficult to manage people within the organization.

As for Utah Symphony, the unionized bargaining practices caused the salaries of orchestra members to be swelled at rates much higher what was offered in similar organizations. About 60 percent of Symphony’s expense constituted of orchestra’s salaries, related benefits and payroll taxes. There existed pressures of further increases in salaries as a result of collective bargaining efforts in the future. While the union presence had the benefit of ensuring employee security, the increased financial pressures incapacitated the organization’s solvency and forced it to explore newer sources of revenue.

Moreover, in the pre-merger era, the relationship between the Utah Symphony Board and management has been constrained because of the two’s consistent inability to reach agreement of employee salaries. The musicians have cast doubt on the Board’s intentions to seek a merger with the Opera. They have viewed it as a move to reopen the bargained case of musicians’ salaries and propose measures that would make the musicians worse off. The musicians understand their importance to the company’s operations and have planned to formulate agreements for the safeguard of their rights in the new entity. Their efforts are likely to limit the possibilities available to the Board in its decision making during the merger procedures.

Recommendations: In order to make the merger successful, Ewers would need to convince and inspire the board members and employees at Symphony. She would need to be more diplomatic and take the considerations of the musicians into account, so that they are ensured that their rights would be safeguarded. While her coercive approach may be beneficial in dealing with some situations, it can strip the organization off its flexibility and lower employee motivation levels. Ewers should thus adopt versatility in her management style and retain both her coercive ability as well as develop an inclination to value other’s opinions. She would also need to devise appropriate means of communication to communicate her ideas in the merged firm.

Ewers would need to build confidence in staff that change can happen. She would need to carefully shortlist allies within symphony, on whose support she can rely on to effectively integrate the two organizations.

She would also have to resolve her conflict with Lockhard, who fears that his role has been relegated in the new organization

 

A2. Financial and Leadership Strengths and Weaknesses at Utah Opera before the Merger

The Opera was headed by the strong leadership of Anne Ewers, who had proved to be of significant financial value to the firm – growing the company’s budget from $1.5million to $5million within a span of eleven years. The company was thus financially stable. It also had a sound fundraising program initiated by Ewers that proved to be an important source of strength for the company.

The Utah Opera is a financially sound company which, although is smaller in size than Utah Symphony, is undoubtedly more financially secure. The company has the services of several key players at its disposal, such as the highly experienced and talented Anne Ewers as well as a number of other important people at key positions. The Opera owns a strong base of fixed assets that can provide it with financial power and security.

Compared to the Symphony, the weaknesses of the Opera include the non-availability of any performing artist on continuing contact, Opera’s lack of diversification and smaller budget. The company also had a unique identity among the community and several people had concerns that this identity would diffuse once the organization merged with another.

Recommendations: In the process of going ahead with the merger, Ewers must convince the management at Opera that integration with Utah Symphony would not harm its operations. The management reportedly has reservations regarding the merger and is concerned that integration with a financially instable company such as the Symphony would put additional burden on the company’s resources and cause the financial rating of the opera to proportionally fall. Ewers would need to convince the Board members that the merger is beneficial and she must offer them rewards for their support towards greater integration with the Symphony. She should adopt a collaborative approach and engage the Board members in the integration process.

A3. Scorecard Aspects

Utah Symphony: The financial target of the company is to improve its revenues and strengthen the company’s financial position. The main source of revenue is the ticket sales, and the company plans to improve on this by hiring the best talent, increasing the variety of symphonies offered and enhancing the level of customer satisfaction. The current financial position at the company is constrained because of lags in fundraising. For future growth,

Utah Opera: The Utah Opera aims to improve its financial strength by increasing its reserve fund. The company aims to improve its ticket sales, attract top talent and continue its production of high quality performances that receive regional and national acclaim.

 

B. Balance Scorecard for Utah Opera and Symphony Company:

The vision of the company is to become one renowned house where both the orchestra and the opera activities are housed. The business model is to improve the integration between the two departments so that the economies of scale could be realized and profitability levels improved. The balance scorecard for the merged company is as follows:

Financial

•  Strategic Goal: Being financially stable and reduce costs via economies of scale

•  Critical Success Factor: Conducting successful fund raising campaigns both Symphony and the opera facilities

•  Measure: Improved revenues

 

Customer

•  Strategic Goal: Putting up performances that can be classed as the best in the region

•  Critical Success Factor: Hiring the best talent for performances

•  Measure: Huge ticket sales for performances

 

Internal Process

•  Strategic Goal: Identify opportunities of growth and safeguard the interests of the conflicting groups

•  Critical Success Factor: Low turnover rates and amicable work atmosphere

•  Measure: Fewer complaints from the organizational members

 

Learning and Growth

•  Strategic Goal: Hosting large events that include both opera and orchestra, and arranging for training programs for musicians

•  Critical Success Factor: Increased ticket sales

•  Measure: Having won customer loyalty and improved ticket sales

 

C. Strengths and Weaknesses for the Merged Company

If the economies of scale are realized, the company would be further strengthened in terms of an increased financial capability which it can utilize to fund new projects and further expand business. The Utah Symphony would benefit from the strong financial backing of the Opera, while the Opera would benefit from the expansive size on which the Symphony operates. The reduced cost would enable the company to improve performance and reduce the ticket price, thus providing competitive edge to the company and increasing its market share. It would be able to house both opera and orchestra activities within a single business unit, thus providing increased convenience to the customers to choose between the two. It would also be able to host joint training programs and reduce the combined overhead costs that would have been incurred had the two entities remained separate.

A possible weakness that may arise as a result of the merger is the increased time and effort that must be directed to resolving conflict within the organizational space. The merger brings together two organizations with radically different cultures and work practices. To exacerbate the matter, the employees at Opera are not very optimistic about the merger and would require sufficient convincing evidence to motive them to openheartedly accept integration with Symphony. The portion of company’s budget that is directed to managing crisis is likely to increase.

D. An issue that might arise during the merger process:

The issue of human resource is quite likely to erupt during the restructuring procedures in the merger process. The musicians are agitated that the merger would reduce their benefit and incentive plans, whereas people such as Lockhart fear of an increased accountability in the restructured organization. Ewers would have to resolve the crisis with Lockhart and reach a solution that is mutually acceptable to both the parties. Lockhart is a key resource figure in the Symphony and winning his support would prove to be important for Ewers.

The new merged company CEO should be cautious to take the interests of all stakeholders into account in order to avoid conflict in the new organizational setting. If the management at opera is not sufficiently convinced, it is likely that they may collude and resort to coercive measures such as strikes to force Ewers to withdraw the merger plans. Similarly, the demands of the musicians at the Symphony must be met and their benefits and salaries maintained in the new organization. There are doubts that the current salary structure at Symphony has been inflated at a high level due to vigorous bargaining practices at the Company. However, there remains risk that an attempt to lower these salaries would incite protest from the workforce. Ewers may be tempted to downgrade the employee salaries at the Symphony and make them comparable to those at the Opera, but doing so would be counterproductive. The musicians are a crucial part of the orchestra body and their full participation and involvement is essential to further the company’s objectives.

 

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