Prior to Covid, workplace choirs were becoming increasingly popular, including at many businesses whose names appear on “best places to work” lists. With the onset of Covid, it became popular for people to step outside of their homes in order to participate in music-making with their neighbours. Finally, it has been suggested that many environmentalists are also part-time musicians. Might there be a relationship between key SET values—a great place to work, fostering community, environmentalism—and music?
Arran Caza and I recently published a study that examines the relationship between corporate singing and organizational culture. We found that, as predicted, compared to organizations where members listened to music, organizations where members sang together had more prosocial behavior (i.e., members were more likely to volunteer to serve each other). We also examined whether different types of singing (e.g., chanting, versus unison, versus harmony, versus combination) were related to different levels of prosociality. As predicted, compared to the other types of singing, firms where members sang together in harmony exhibited greater prosocial behavior and values. Singing in harmony may help members to be more attuned to and welcoming of differences with others (e.g., harmonious music would not be possible if everyone was singing in unison).
That said, ours was an exploratory study, and thus our results should not be seen as definitive. However, akin to SET management, they suggest that being sensitive to and appreciative of differences among stakeholders can result in outcomes more pleasing than any one of the stakeholders can achieve on their own.
Dyck, B., & Caza, A. (2021). An exploratory study of corporate singing: Relationships of rhythm, melody, and harmony with culture. Journal of Management, Spirituality and Religion, 18(2): 74-99