This research was conducted by Kate Preston Keeney and Yuha Jung at the College of Charleston and the University of Kentucky, USA.


This paper reports an analysis of job description data for senior-level arts leaders in the US to find evidence of three emerging global leadership competencies: emotional, cultural, and systems intelligences. Global leadership (as opposed to provincial or domestic leadership) is about being able to work effectively across different cultures and contexts. This is something that is increasingly needed – but perhaps not well understood – in the arts.

Systems intelligence was present in 80 per cent of job ads, emotional intelligence featured in 78 per cent, and cultural intelligence in 53 per cent

Emotional intelligence is about monitoring one’s own feelings and those of others and using those to guide action. Cultural intelligence is about knowing how and when to act in different settings and cultures. Systems intelligence is about seeing and understanding the constituent parts of a culture and their relationships to one another.

The research was based on 80 job adverts from and the Americans for the Arts job bank posted in 2017

Social emotional intelligences (empathy and social skills) were prized more than personal competences (self-awareness, self-regulation, and motivation). Those aspects of cultural intelligence relating to action were more prominent than those relating to knowing and understanding. No statement actually mentioned systems intelligence, but instead emphasised ‘the importance of strategic partnerships, learning attitude, and maintaining relationships with audiences and donors as ways to advance the organisation’s mission.’

The paper sets out four styles of global arts leadership

Organisation-focused leaders are strong managers and are very astute at managing and leading the internal organisation. Relationship-based leaders (who serve organisations high on external engagement and low on global mission) are collaborators, externally engaged with stakeholder groups, partners, and audiences in order to best position and advance the organisation. Global leaders represent complex organisations high on external engagement and have global missions and great demands are made upon them. Culturally specific leaders oversee organisations low on external engagement but with global missions, they place emphasis on meaningful engagement with a specific constituent group.


Title Global arts leadership: an exploration of professional standards and demands in arts management
Author(s) Keeney, K. P. & Jung, Y.
Publication date 2018
Source The Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society, Vol 48, Iss. 4, pp 227-242
Author email