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‘Culture for Sale’: The Effects of Corporate Colonization on the UK Museum Sector

Aroles, J.; Hassard, J.; Hyde, P

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J. Aroles

J. Hassard

P Hyde


For the UK, the 2008 financial crisis coupled with the subsequent economic austerity programme forced many public institutions to engage in various cost-cutting and fundraising activities. In parallel, corporate ideologies came to dominate how academics, officials and professionals debated public activities, in turn profoundly affecting the provision of communal services. This paper explores how ‘corporate colonization’ (sensu Deetz, 1992), fuelled by austerity, claims public institutions for commercial interests. Drawing on in-depth interviews with senior staff, this paper demonstrates how retrenchment of external support in the UK museum sector has been an uneven process, resulting in the manifestation of three experiential states of corporate colonization: organizational perennity, organizational perseverance, organizational precarity. We thus investigate the differential and uneven ways in which corporate colonization affects organizations pertaining to the UK cultural sector. Overall, we argue that the austerity culture in the UK affects museums in largely negative ways by forcing them to respond to the progressive need to satisfy short-term financial interests.


Aroles, J., Hassard, J., & Hyde, P. (2021). ‘Culture for Sale’: The Effects of Corporate Colonization on the UK Museum Sector. Organization Studies,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 3, 2020
Online Publication Date Jan 6, 2021
Publication Date 2021
Deposit Date Dec 3, 2020
Publicly Available Date Dec 20, 2020
Journal Organization Studies
Print ISSN 0170-8406
Electronic ISSN 1741-3044
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Public URL


Accepted Journal Article (749 Kb)

Copyright Statement
Aroles, J. and Hassard, J. and Hyde, P ''Culture for sale' : the effects of corporate colonization on the UK museum sector.', Organization studies Copyright © [2021] The Author(s). DOI:10.1177/0170840621989001

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