Arts Council England: Ramifications of Organisational Dynamics and Institutional Setting on Policy


  • John R Tattersall Formerly Senior Lecturer in Strategic Management and Business Policy in the Lancashire Business School, University of Central Lancashire.



Arts Policy, Resources, Political, Cultural processes.


This paper offers a view of the development of decision making and policy within the Arts Council, national development agency for the arts, and explores the notion of how strategies are often the outcome of resource, political and cultural processes rather than discrete strategic planning. For the purposes of this paper, decision making and policy making are being treated as synonymous as key expressions of strategy. The paper is based on an examination of the assumption with which the Arts Council historically has justified both its general operations and particular decisions, the aim being to identify the various ideological and structural determinants which bear upon its decision-making processes. The paper concludes that the Arts Council is influenced by normative pressures from without and within which leads the organisation to be guided by previously legitimated policies which over time have become standard operating practice. The legitimated policies have had the tendency to lead to isomorphism within the Arts Council environment, creating selected patterns of routine and continuity. A form of ‘constructive tension’ has arisen between that which is deemed necessary to preserve and that which must change with time.

Author Biography

John R Tattersall, Formerly Senior Lecturer in Strategic Management and Business Policy in the Lancashire Business School, University of Central Lancashire.

Formerly Senior Lecturer in Strategic Management and Business Policy in the Lancashire Business School, University of Central Lancashire.


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