Circus Oz

Case Solution

James Phills, Hilary Stockton
Stanford Graduate School of Business ()

Circus Oz was the most important international circus in Australia, performing in 26 countries on five continents. In early 2002, Circus Oz enjoyed its strongest financial position since its inception in 1977, with profits and a surplus of A $ 1,169,313. Although the company had increased its share of box office revenue in recent years, more than 60% of its funding still came from the Australia Council, its largest government sponsor. Circus Oz General Manager Linda Mickleborough considered how to respond to a recent offer from the Council of Australia to fund a new position as Director of Development at Circus Oz. The Australia Council strongly encouraged the circus to recruit development professionals to expand its corporate donor funding. As an incentive, the city council offered to cover the cost of the position for two years. Mickleborough had found the ideal candidate. The decision was still difficult. Circus Oz had relatively low salaries, reflecting deeply ingrained democratic and egalitarian values. These values โ€‹โ€‹were fundamental to the creative process, culture and aesthetics of the company. The proposed salary for the Head of Development position was more than double the highest salary currently paid to a Circus Oz employee. Such a large pay gap could destroy company morale and culture.

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