The Conductorless Orchestra: Lessons on Shared Leadership

The Conductorless Orchestra: Lessons on Shared Leadership

  • Case
  • Teaching Notes
Abstract

As we move from the knowledge economy to the creative economy, a new form of leadership is necessary. Now that organizations tend to have a flatter hierarchy, expertise, knowledge, and influence are more evenly distributed across them. Thus, traditional top-down models of leadership where authority and influence come from the top, will not be as effective.

There is a growing impetus for organizations to practice shared leadership. This case presents the example of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra – an orchestra that has no conductor. By contrasting the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra with orchestras with a conductor, students can draw lessons on shared forms of leadership. In particular, students can reflect on how the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra can perform successfully without a central leadership figure conducting from the podium.

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