Toxic work environment prompts dismissal of French museum president

If you think that work life in the creative sectors manages to escape toxic leadership, please think again. Bad leaders can be found anywhere, even in occupational areas devoted to advancing creativity, artistic expression, and cultural enrichment.

Case in point: The president of the Musée Picasso (Picasso Museum) in Paris, Anne Baldassari, has been relieved of her duties amidst an employee relations crisis implicating her leadership. Doreen Carvajal reports for the New York Times that the French culture ministry, which presides over the Picasso Museum, announced that:

…Ms. Baldassari had been dismissed because of a “gravely deteriorating work environment.” It cited a management review in March by an inspector general who recommended an overhaul because of “profound suffering in the workplace and a toxic atmosphere” that had provoked a series of resignations by high-ranking officials . . ..

Furthermore, a statement by Claude Picasso, the artist’s son, suggesting that the workers’ concerns were exaggerated  “galvanized more than half the museum’s current staff of 45 people to issue a statement over the weekend in which they described a management style marked by favoritism, conflict, mercurial decision making and a lack of communication.”

Sometimes we may naïvely assume that because an organization’s mission is devoted to a seemingly higher purpose, those who lead the enterprise share a commitment to fair employment practices and worker dignity. If only that was so…

2 responses

  1. Bravo for the employees to be brave enough to react to the remarks in unison. It is difficult to solely remark as one is often looked at as a complainer or cause of the problem. But to be brave and all react shows a team work environment that exposed a bad leader. If this could be the case more often but people are more afraid to speak up in fear of losing one’s job. French law allows the right to strike, or to speak without as much fear of losing work. And it is not easy to fire an employee…usually severance pay of several months is involved as well. I hope in the future Americans will have more confidence in not losing their jobs so easily!

  2. I worked at a college that only moved the toxic boss to another department after everyone when to the boss’s boss and said they would quit if this person wasn’t removed. It was a nightmare for the next department to get the toxic boss. Sad day.

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