Business Dossier Music And Management Cultural Studies Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Indeed, Management is a notion whose meaning should be detailed because of its many application areas which have proliferated and expanded with time. According to the etymology, it concerns the "art of managing the domestic affairs of a household".

Over time, Management began to diversify itself as "Management told staff", as "Leadership", etc. Certainly, this notion evolves as the art of self-drive in its relationship with others or of leading a group of people within a group or organization. In fact, more generally it defines the art of leading an organization in all its aspects and not only in the field of Human Resources. Management deals with know-how, social skills and knowledge.

The goals of Management are to strive to improve its work unceasingly in order to optimize, to harmonize and to incorporate the impact of new dimensions of art to decide and manage integrating:

The respect of interests and performances of many stakeholders in the activities of the group of persons or company.

A greater consideration of the temporal dimension so as to find coherence between the management working in the short, medium and long term.

Measurement, weighting and stakeholder accountability with the risk.

The collection of information and use of knowledge and skills of each and every one.

In this case, the topic will focus on leadership in Management. Actually, the leadership is to lead employees engaged to perform the work and make things achieved, that is to say, to exercise a positive influence on them. Training, communication and motivation are the main tasks of leadership. So as to facilitate their work, managers must motivate and stimulate subordinated to become more productive, realize their goals and to work in a spirit of collaboration. Motivation, coordination and mobilization of individuals and teams permit to work together so as to achieve organizational goals. Six essential qualities of a good leader:

The creative insight, that is to say the ability to ask the right questions;

The sensitivity and gently susceptibility of others;

The ability to have a vision of the future and to plan for the future

Flexibility as adaptability;

The ability to get people to focus on a goal by channelling individual efforts and energy and resources;

Patience is needed in the long term management).

Music is the art of arranging and ordering or disordering sounds and silences in time: the rhythm is support for this combination in time, the height, and the combination frequencies in... It is both a creation (an artwork) representation and also a mode of communication. It uses certain rules or the composition systems, from the simplest to the most complex. It can use various objects, the body, the voice, but also musical instruments specially designed and more all sounds. Music is evanescent; it exists only in the moment of perception that must reconstruct its unity in time. It has existed in all human societies since prehistoric times. It is an individual form of expression (including expression of feelings), a source of pleasure and collective gathering (party, singing, dancing) and a symbol of a community or a nation (national anthem musical style Official, religious music, military music).

A social study through the ages has been conducted in an attempt to Jacques ATTALI (Noise, Paris, PUF, 1978) shows that each time is dependent on the relationship between art and society, and more particularly between music and forms of perception. Thus, it appears very clearly that there are many similarities between music and management pursuing goals in common.

In our business dossier, we will try to understand and explain how music can improve management. To deal with this problematic, the effects of Music on behaviour might be clarified (I) in order to describe the different uses of Music in Management (II).

The effects of music on behaviour

Music and Management, two closed worlds

The biased idea seems to tell us that Music and Management are two opposite worlds. By the way, the link between Music and Management deals with project, experience, human, rhythm, etc.

Retrospectively, the link between music and work is not new since our ancestors have maintained close with it. Indeed, already in the galleys, the rhythm of the rowers was given by the sound of drums. To fight against demotivation of workers on construction sites, songs were released and it is the same for soldiers who were able to enjoy glorious hymns playing by bagpipers on the battlefield in order them to remember their commitment to the country.

Obviously in the world of business, the environment will not be the same but the essence of the use of music can be expressed through other methods. For instance, the benefits of music can act through team activities and workshops.

All the time, managers are balanced between several kinds of management (interventionism, laissez-faire, paternalism and inaccessibility, hyperactivity and stagnation, etc.). To manage people is a hard work which needs to use equilibrium between rules and creativity, rigor and flexibility… and at the end between reason and emotion like in music.

Music is the art which combine sonority in an inspired way, with subtlety, playing with grade and mastery, directing, associating and melting sonorities in a whole: the musical work. There is a huge diversity of sonority, of music instruments, of musicians, of kinds of music and regularly new ones appear with each one their specificities. This incredible diversity allows everyone to find a kind of music which will seduce him/her.

In a sense this enormous quantity of differences and nuances are like identities for human community. So we can compare the manager as a chief conductor because he tries to tune his way of working with the identity, experience, wishes and sensibility of each worker of his team. A manager plays with nuances and fluctuations of tempo in order to avoid monotonous work.

If we analyse the profession of an orchestral chief and a manager, we find some resonances:

A manager

A chief conductor

To implement a project

To interpret a work

To lead a team

To conduct an orchestra

To be of service to the company, while having the mission to give his personal approach

To be at the service of the work performed, while having the mission to give his own interpretation

In a sense, Music is a marvellous metaphor of management and forms an incredible way to make alive an enterprise.

Benefits of music

"Music can attune a whole host of emotional. This power gives it a force for social cohesion essential in most cultures of the world."


Scientific studies have shown that not only listening to music opens our brain capacity in the short term but also that the regular practice of an instrument and singing plays a sustained role on our performance and social cohesion. According to these studies, a transfer between musical and cognitive abilities promotes different brain connections. Thus the music appears as stimulant neurons.

In general, practicing and listening music cause many positive effects demonstrated by the technique of "motivation and cohesion through song." Indeed, it strengthens brain plasticity and therefore improves memory but also to consolidate learning abilities. In addition, it develops the emotional feeling, promotes empathy and facilitates concentration and reasoning while reducing stress.

The principle of using music in Management is to use an activity so as to create cohesion. It will permit to capitalize and to profit these activities to make appear the links between behaviours the outside and inside enterprise.

In order to develop the skills of managers and teams, music could be a good tool. Indeed, as in music as in firm, the success of a project is built on knowledge and taking into account the human side. So it is essential to refocus on human. It is the beginning, the way to do and the goal of all projects.

Furthermore, a manager has to be constantly concentrated with several topics. That's why he needs to find equilibrium between reason and emotion but it is hard to find a way of managing which respects and develops the human being.

The chief conductor shows the way to do thing, he must direct people. As a manager, a chief conductor needs to create a harmony. He has to be passionate by his work in order to reveal a perfect symbiosis between him and his members of team who can be musicians or workers. The project is to permit individual talent to express them and unify people in a whole so as to achieve a goal.

The 10 main utilities of Music effects:

Feeling of calm and relax

To remain positive in management

Increasing the ability of concentrate

Avoiding distractions

Create variation

Opening mind and creativity

Kind of entertainment

Influencing speed of work

Increasing energy

Reinforcing social cohesion

Utility of music in Management

What motivates employees?

Initially, the motivation of an employee is personal in the sense that what motivates employees does not necessarily motivate others. In other words, there is no magic potion that motivates all employees. Everyone has their own motivations and your role is to identify them. The easiest way to find out what motivates employees is to ask them.

Managers today play a catalytic role because when they need to see something happen, they know the trigger. Definitely, what distinguishes managers are less their willingness to delegate or stay late at the office in the evening than their organizational capabilities to create a climate of fairness and technical expertise. If all these qualities are indeed important to the success of the manager, they do not really make a difference because the most essential is undoubtedly the ability to inspire others just as music can inspire people.

A good manager has to create more energy than it consumes in order to amplify team energy instead of using it. In other words, the manager collects the natural energy of his employees and develops it so they are more stimulated than at the beginning. Management becomes a process of transmission of the passion he has for the company in a form that employees understand and appreciate so as to become as passionate as him.

It is saying that a picture as much weight as a thousand words. This principle applies both to the images that music which is a vector in terms of images and emotions conducive to creating a shared vision so that all employees will be focused on the same goal in this case to have wonderful holidays.

One of the main roles of the manager as a conductor is to observe and listen to their employees (or musicians). While the manager seeks to create a unit with subordinates in order to lead to the achievement of a common goal beneficial to the company, the conductor tries to create cohesion between musicians who will play together to interpret the best piece of music.

Through communication is essential in business, the manager as leader's role has to encourage his team to action to support and encourage them to invest more.

For instance, the enterprise NOVIAL is specialized in the use of Music in Management and organise meetings like this:

Example of meeting by enterprise NOVIAL

Active listening and effective team

To attend to a commentary performance of Chamber Music

To observe the look and exchanges of codes between the musicians

To discover the notion of performance team

To present the wind and string instruments

To train from quintet to 12 musicians

To listen the Main Music of the Army and the Circle National Army

Meaningful and enhancement features

To attend rehearsals of extensive training

To understand the role of conductor

To analyse the specificity of each instrument and to be surprised by the apparent and real value in training

To share feelings with the musicians and the conductor

To decrypt the session on parallels with the acquisition of certain business model

The training of team during meetings like this one permits to explore the way of leading, to approach differently teamwork and creativity in music and business. Actually, when professionals work in a team to examine the role of a chief conductor role within an orchestra, a musician's band and how a soloist can improvise, it announces an energetic lexis for conversing about management, collaboration, improvement and personal progress, engaging members to discover new methods of dealing with corporate practice.

The use of music in management and limits

Music at work: how Music can be applied at work?

As we have seen before, music plays a central role in human's life. It allows people to express their own feelings, like emotion, vitality, angry… The problem is, in enterprise world, you cannot show all what you feel. Enterprise world does not know how to manage emotional reactions of their salaries.

Often, salaries have to hide what they think and it could be a factor of stress. Furthermore, as seen previously, music can help to improve the company's performance through better motivation from employee.

So what will be study in this part is how to apply music through management method. It will concern several fields of management, such as management in SMEs or management relative to workers… The goal is to understand how we can do, with music, to improve the competitiveness of the company, the motivation from the work labour… This part will be focused on the team level.

One of the most important drags touching the salary is the fear to show what is really thinking. It could be perceived from the others as a weakness, especially in the case with high responsibility position. It could lead to misunderstanding atmosphere, making the communication difficult between the team. And bad vibes in a team could bring absenteeism, demotivation…

Of course, there is many ways to counteract this problem, but we propose in this part, the way of music, which is very original and efficient.

It deals with organizing group team integrating singing and coaching. This method is very original because to sing with others allows to speak from emotion, to feel it, to understand it and finally, to share it. Sharing of emotion among employee contribute and ease a right communication. The organization of this group team is the following. At the end of a meeting, there is a concert part. Everyone must participate, even if you do not have any notion of music. Obviously, if you have instrument, you should bring it.

Then, everyone start to sing on a theme, or play instrument. In many case, the concert is led by a famous song. So everyone could take part on it and have some fun time. Singing with his superiors could be impressive but everyone start on the same level. There is no hierarchy.

In this precise moment, your boss is not really your boss but is a singer just like you.

Even for the most reluctant employee to music, there is some ways very adapted.

For example, some firms have developed an introductory workshop on percussion.

Employees learn with very simple rhythm, have to listen together in order to well play. It is another way to communicate with different people, not with words but with music. As seen previously, communication is one of the most important tools in the enterprise world, so this is an original way to develop it.

Some enterprises go further. They shoot a short musical film where we can see each person of the company singing (in playback) and dancing together. Some societies have ever tried, such as Naf-Naf or Daunat. Then it is broadcast on internet, or on TV. This is a kind of advertising which tend to improve the image of the company. It is very efficient because it spread very fast and it is very popular. Here is an example taking place in Rennes, in a bank. Salaries from Daunat turned a clip with sun glasses, flowers shirts, straw hat… We could see them smiling, dancing… That a nice way to regroup salaries together. And the most surprising things, is none of them are paid to do this!

This technique is known as "Lipdub". At the present time, more and more companies used it to create a friendly atmosphere. Of course, it involves a lot of time to realize it, because everyone must sing, or dance at the right time, because if they do not, it just look terrible. But this is a good way to learn to work together. Moreover, have some fun and pleasure with his colleagues permit also to reduce barrier and create better relationship. People can feel more important, and it makes them more involving in the enterprise, just because they feel great in it.

Many companies have tried to apply some "extra time" such as sport time, or seminar in order to create a good atmosphere among the employees. But what occurs is employees are boring of these methods where you have to feel happy, and make vacuum in your mind. Chorales or Lipdub are very innovative way to counteract that problem.

At long term level, some companies have decided to propose music formation for their employees. Music lessons are delivered by professional musicians after the work for the employees. It is a nice way to learn a new instrument. Employees are rewarding towards their company and logically, make them more involving on their daily work.

And after some time, all the lessons delivered to the employees can be mixed in an orchestra. As you have seen on the previous example, an orchestra, as a chorale, is a relevant way to reunite employees together. This is kind of indirect management.

Therefore, organizing music meeting, and chorales looks efficient, but this not the only fields where you can operate. You can do simpler. For example, after hard way work, some companies have proposed to their employees to listen music, on their time work. It allows them to take a rest and recharge themselves. It is very cheap and easy to apply.

Furthermore, it shows that you are not just focused on the performance of the company but also on the welfare of your salaries. Music is a nice way to connect your salaries during the lunch time. It makes the rest more appreciate from the team. It is very simple, play music at this time show that work time is over. Now you can be disconnected from your job, for a while, and discuss easily with your colleagues.

But it could lead to a problem. What kind of music should be played? Obviously, it is difficult because people have not the same taste of music.

Fortunately, studies had been carried on that subject, and it seems that jazz music is the more adapted. Jazz music has various effects on people behaviour. It is relaxing, stirring and very pleasant to listen. Therefore, it leads people to enjoy better the rest and be in a good mood.

Management studies showed that pleased employees are likely to devote themselves more in the company. And, once again, it showed that you take care of the welfare of your employees. All music tools seen previously could be applied in each structure (SME, factory, big company, association…)

But the following one will concern only the factories, and especially labourers.

Most of them do their job mechanically because it is quite the same thing, every day. They run machine, monitor it, and must support unpleasant noise. This is a really hard physical work.

Music could help them to enjoy more their daily work. This is the only case where music can be listened during the work. Indeed, you will see in the second part that music could have negative effects on the concentration, memory… For labourers it does not matter because there are repetitive and mechanical tasks whereas it is more complex for an executive…

However, music should be played at some defined time. Music played continually could make them anger and galling. Consequently, there is several ways to apply music in management methods. It is quiet original and very efficient to make your employee proud and glad to work in your company. However, there are some limits relative to this kind of management.

In this last part, we will analyse what could restrict music management.


Studies have showed that listening music during work is actually bad for our capacity to assimilate information received. That is why listening music during work can actually be noxious for workers.

In fact, many people consider that listening while working helps them for concentration. In reality this belief is totally wrong. Britannic scientists have led a study which corroborates this hypothesis. They asked to some volunteers to remember a list of eight consonants in a certain order.

This easy task was carried out in five different conditions:

In silence

While listening music that volunteers like

While listening music that volunteers do not like

While listening a voice reciting numbers randomly

While listening a voice that always says the number 3 (sound background stable)

Results of this study were very clear. The same bad results were reached by those who were listening music, while those who were involved in a silent or stable background obtained much better results. This clearly means that music decrease performances, at least for memory and concentration.

Applied to management, we can thus assume that workers who are listening music at work would be less able to remember things or stay concentrate on the things they are working on. This issue can be a problem for the company if a file is not well completed for instance. This also can be a big issue for managers who can believe that the employees are not working, or are not working well because they are listening music.

A second serious limit to mix management and music is that what can be benefit for some people is not for others. That is to say, some employees who listen to music at work can disturb other employees who either prefer working in silence or dot not like this type of music… If fact, this is not a problem if the worker who is listening to music has his own office but it can rapidly become a huge problem if he works in open spaces.

In this way, an employee who does not want to disturb his colleagues with his music should put headphones. Thus it can be more efficient in what he is doing. Although, this solution raises new issues what happened if everyone is in his own world listening to music alone? It kills communication. Being isolate from the co-workers must be in a certain way to be more efficient on his work, be more creative… Debie CAROLL, music therapist and professor in the music department of UQAM [1] believes that alternate moments of headphones and open diffused music is the best cohabitation possible. Though there is still the problem of the kind of music that may not satisfy everyone.

Moreover, many employees testify that music environment is not a good work atmosphere but more bad work condition. Indeed, many supermarket cashiers say that music (which is at first for customers' satisfaction) disturbs them during their work.

Benchmark :

1/3 worker is exposed to noise.

32 % of people exposed to noise do not have auditory protection.

600 Professional illnesses are due to noise.

Then, legally, there are many grey areas and obstacles that prevent music to be developed in companies.

First, use and diffusion of music in enterprise is much supervised. Indeed, when they want to diffuse music in their premises, enterprises have to pay a license-fee, and of course, obligations are different according to the frame where music is listened or diffused.

"Play copyrighted music within earshot of your customers or any of your colleagues and you'll need a licence. Without one, you're breaking UK copyright law and could be taken to court."

What's more is that there is a law relative to exposure limits to noise (which can include music). Effectively, the limit for an 8 hour work day is 87db [2] .

Furthermore, there is philosophical limit. Actually, generalization of listening music at work all day long tends to swamp the worker in a kind of musical insensibility. This is the result of a study led by a British scientist.

According to the musicologist Adrian North state that easy access to music tends to think that it was taken for granted and that it does not ask any more for emotional commitment. His team based at Leicester University had led a two week study with 346 guinea pigs and conclude that the 'MP3 Generation [3] ' composed of the youth do not really appreciate music and songs. The more you listen to music the less sensitive you are. In fact, the free and easy access to music leads to a passive attitude in listening behaviour.

Adapt this theory to management; we can say that if workers listen to music all days long at work, they will rapidly become passive listeners unable to really enjoy music. It's a real philosophical issue because this 'MP3 Generation' is unaware of the incapacity to 'well' listen to music it's developing.


Any project needs to respect some rules in order to be achieved. Some rules, some aspects are common for every task we have to realize. A project is demanding about organization and management in order to structure ideas, space and time. All this method tries to install a melody, a harmony and a rhythm increasing passion, development and accomplishment.

Precisely in this case, we tried to explain the closed link between management and music which both try to deal with a world expressing its expectations and conflicts. That is the reason why an enterprise could be considered as a way of creating and building something as a musician does. In another way, we can approach the notion of managing as art like music.

If we study the history of music and management one's, we will find similarities in their evolution and in the everyday life management plays between improvisation and sheet music, feelings and rules. It is a hard work to play music as management and management as music in this way and it requires talent which is an uncommon skill.

As we have explained, Management and Music are similar because both have to create a feeling of team cohesion around a strong culture of team result. So as to realize it, leadership applying by chief orchestra or manager is the master word. The both notion are involving with experience, hard work, feelings and intuition so with human relations. These two disciplines accord to create a synergy through a team of multiple talents and skills. They have to canalize all these scattered abilities to achieve with success a work (of art).

All spheres with projects implying human relations know instants of hesitation, increased and decreased of team and manager motivation but also success, feeling of unity, community, wealth of being involved in a team with a great manager. The main link between these spheres is the human connections which can permit incredible things like Steve Jobs have been understood well.

As a conclusion, the closest link between Music and Management shows that all matters which is built around people need to take into account the fact that human beings are not just resources like others or an instrument maker but above all the explaining of everything, the absolute raw material to create marvellous thing. Human beings are the beginning, the tool and the goal of all projects.

Sources (music at work) (survey on music, and work) (music at work, law)

Management et économie des entreprises, G. Bressy et C. Konkuyt, Editions Sirey, 2011

Les 100 du management moderne (les 100 Règles d'or, Astuces, Conseils & «Best Practices» ), Collection Cahiers Des Performances, 3e édition, éd. Katamaran Entreprise, 2010 (ISBN 978-2-9534365-2-5)

Produisez, Consentez - Critique de l'idéologie managériale, Étienne Rodin, éditions Homnisphères, 2008

Les risques du manager, Azad Kibarian et Jean-Pierre Thiollet, Collection Lire Agir, Editions Vuibert, 2008

Le management durable, Alain Astouric, Chronique Sociale, 2004

La gestion dynamique, P.G. Bergeron, éditions Gaëtan Morin, 2006

Management des entreprises, Samuel Josien & Sophie Landrieux-Kartochian, éditions Lextenso 2011

Cours de management de l'EM Grenoble, Cours accessible à tous : [1]