This paper argues that the task of ans management entails a critical engagement with the discourses of management. The promulgation of economic rationalism across the arts and cultural sector is identified in the context of the general deployment of economic criteria to judge the success of diverse organisations. In particular, the notion of tile creative industries, concerned with commercial cultural production, and its impact on the arts sector is highlighted as a dominant discursive practice. The paper makes the case that the task of the arts manager must be to argue for the cultural value of the arts, and take a critical approach to the dominant discourses that currently define the field. Finally, it is argued that one of the key challenges for the future of arts management is to also take a critical approach to the conventional discourses of arts marketing in order to deliver a new focus on audience engagement.