Special issue

Bohemian like you? Managing people and organizations in creative industries

Deadline for full paper submissions: October 31, 2018


Guest Editorial Team

Edoardo Della Torre, University of Bergamo, Italy, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Doris Ruth Eikhof, University of Leicester, UK, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Fabrizio Montanari, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy; and ASK Research Center Bocconi University, Italy, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
David Sikora, Georgia Southern University, GA USA, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Overview and motivation of the special issue

The creative industries comprise “industries supplying goods and services that we broadly associate with cultural, artistic, or simply entertainment value” (Caves, 2002: 1) and are typically taken to include architecture and design, film, television, video, radio and publishing, fine arts, music and the performing arts, software and computer gaming, advertising and crafts (DCMS, 2001). In the last two decades, the creative industries have attracted the interest of scholars from different disciplines because of their substantial and growing contribution to the contemporary economy and their specific characteristics, which have led to them being viewed as an avant-garde of innovation and knowledge intensive production (e.g., Lampel, Lant & Shamsie, 2000; Townley et al., 2009). Moreover, in line with the recent phenomenon of the culturalization of traditional economic sectors – i.e. the emergence of the “non-utilitarian aesthetic and semiotic” features of goods and services as catalysts for consumer attraction (Scott, 2010: 116), creativity is increasingly considered a key resource for both the success of companies and the economic development of entire regional and national economies (Markusen & Schrock, 2006; UNCTAD, 2010).

Despite the surge of interest on this theme, as exemplified by the recent publication of a series of seminal volumes (e.g. Banks, Gill & Taylor, 2013; Jones et al., 2015), management research that explicitly focuses on creative industries and the associated organizational and work dynamics is surprising limited. Indeed, creative industries constitute labor and knowledge intensive contexts in which skills, capabilities, talent, and reputation of different actors (artists, managers, gatekeepers, etc.) are critical resources for individual and organizational performance and success. In these contexts the work of managers faces particular challenges.

For instance, creative products and services are simultaneously artistic creations and economic outcomes (Caves, 2002), and this twofold nature (i.e. business vs. art) challenges organizational practices and work dynamics (Delmestri et al., 2005; Eikhof & Haunschild, 2006). Reconciling cultural and aesthetic goals with commercial and economic needs may lead to conflicts between these different logics and demands (Lampel et al., 2000) and conflicts are often exacerbated by the different professional backgrounds of the individuals involved in a collaboration or organization (Glynn, 2000). Formalized practices and procedures may constrain and damage the creative processes which both creative and business success depend upon, since creative workers adhere to a counter-establishment ethos and thus “tend to rebel at efforts to manage them overly systematically” (Florida, 2002: 133).

Another theoretically and practically challenging issue concerns the dynamics of labor markets. On the one hand, creative workers need to develop stable relationships with organizations in order to mobilize the resources (economic, social, etc.) required to develop and implement their ideas (Montanari, Scapolan & Gianecchini, 2016). Equally so, organizations need to secure the availability of crucial human resources (Eikhof, 2014). On the other hand, individual careers and organizational projects are driven by an industry ethos of innovation and dynamic development, resulting in frequent changes of employers and collaborators (e.g., Montanari et al., 2016; Svejenova, 2005). Creative workers’ careers are driven by passion, intrinsic motivation, and need for independence and achievement, and creatives exhibit a substantial amount of self-management (Eikhof & Haunschild, 2006; Menger, 1999) – again a specificity that effective managerial practice needs to account for.

These are only two indicative examples of the tensions and paradoxes that management face in the creative industries. Other management-relevant tensions might result from balancing company growth with organizational cultures built on garage start-up mentalities and informality; managing relationships with prosumers rather than consumers; bridging collaborations between different business models (e.g. publicly versus privately funded creative production) or international differences in cultural, regional and economic policy contexts. More broadly, the history and context of the creative industries – their development out of a more narrowly understood arts and culture sector, their links to national policy and approaches to culture – are a manifold source of managerial challenges. Across creative and cultural production, organizations and managers need to find ways of productively and innovatively managing tensions to achieve both creative and commercial aims.


Objectives and research questions

The aim of this special issue is therefore to explore managerial practices in the creative industries, to link research on management, work and organization in these industries more closely into the key concepts and debates in management studies, and to critically explore how these concepts and debates can contribute to our understanding of the creative industries. In pursuing this aim the special issue will enhance the understanding of the work of managers in the creative industries as well as extend the scope and conceptual power of existing managerial and organizational theory and debate. Contributions that adopt current theoretical approaches to understand managerial issues in the creative industries are best suited for this special issue. We also seek contributions that discuss potential implications for management practices in other industries, as well as comparative works that explicitly look at the differences within the creative industries or between creative and non-creative industries.

Specific questions include but are not limited to:

  • What are the specific challenges that managers have to address in creative industries, for instance relating to managing creativity, facing economic constrains and sustaining innovation? What are new stakeholder management practices that could be deployed in times of decreasing public funding in order to create supportive contextual conditions for established and recently founded initiatives?
  • What challenges do new digital platforms and new arts and cultural start-ups posit? Is it possible to exploit such new opportunities to engage audiences, find sustainable business models, and change ways of organizing culture (e.g. through innovative ways of fundraising) while at the same time protecting the essence of cultural projects and cultural organizations?
  • What is the relationship between formal and informal managerial practices in the creative industries? What are the implications of informality for organizational practices and how can informality be strategically managed?
  • What is the relationship between creative industries management and creative workers’ resistance to managerial ideologies? What conditions of conflict, hybridization or hegemony on the outcome of creative production arise, how are they experienced and shaped?
  • How do creative industries organizations manage flexible workers that extensively market and manage their own labor power? What are the main elements of the psychological contract in creative organizations? What implications for psychological contract theory arise from this empirical context?
  • Which industry factors affect individual motivation and performance of creative employees? How such industry factors affect managerial choices in terms of, for instance, balancing employee heterogeneity, multiple stakeholder management, and developing a unique organizational identity?
  • What are the individual and societal consequences of creative industries management practices? How does creative industries management relate to well-being, opportunity, alternative (non-monetary) measures of growth and prosperity?

 We are open to a diverse set of theoretical and empirical methodologies as well as to a range of empirical settings. Qualitative and quantitative empirical approaches as well as conceptual, historical and theoretically focused contributions are welcome.


Details of process

The deadline for full paper submissions is October 31, 2018.

Submitted paper will go through the standard review process of EMR. The authors are asked to read the submission guidelines for style, contents and procedures on 

Though not mandatory, prospective contributors may also consider to submit a paper to the Standing Track “Management and governance of culture, heritage and tourism” (ST11_04) that will be held at EURAM 2018.



Banks, M., Gill, R. & Taylor, S. (2013). Theorizing Cultural Work: Labour, continuity and change in the cultural and creative industries. New York: Routledge.

Caves, R.E. (2002), Creative industries: Contracts between art and commerce, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.

Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) (2001), Creative industries mapping document, London: DCMS.

Delmestri, G., Montanari, F. & Usai, (2005), “Reputation and Strength of Ties in Predicting Commercial Success and Artistic Merit of Independents in the Italian Feature Film Industry”, Journal of Management Studies, Vol. 42 No, 5, pp. 975-1002.

Eikhof, D.R. (2014) ‘The transorganisational context of creative production: Challenges for individuals and management’, in C. Bilton and S. Cummings, Handbook of Management and Creativity, Edward Elgar.

Eikhof, D.R. and Haunschild, D. (2006), “Lifestyle Meets Market: Bohemian Entrepreneurs in Creative Industries”, Creativity and Innovation Management, Vol.15 No. 3, pp. 234-241.

Florida, R. (2002) The Rise of the Creative Class. New York: Basic Books.

Glynn, M.A. (2000). When Cymbals become Symbols: Conflict over Organizational Identity within a Symphony  Orchestra. Organization Science, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 285-298.

Jones, C., Lorenzen, M. & Sapsed, J. (2015) The Oxford handbook of creative industries. Oxford University Press.

Lampel, J., Lant, T. and Shamsie, J. (2000), “Learning from Organizing Practices in Cultural Industries”, Organization Science, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 263-269.

Markusen A and Schrock G (2006) The artistic dividend: Urban artistic specialisation and economic development implications. Urban Studies, 43(10): 1661-1686.

Menger, P.M. (1999). Artistic labor markets and careers. Annual Review of Sociology, 25, 541−574.

Montanari F., Scapolan A. & Giannecchini M. (2016): “Absolutely free? The role of relational work in sustaining artistic innovation”. Organization Studies, 36: 797–821.

Scott, A. J. (2010) Cultural economy and the creative field of the city. Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography, 92 (2): 115–130.

Svejenova, S. (2005). ‘The Path with the Heart’: Creating the authentic career. Journal of Management Studies, 42, 947-974.

Townley, B., Beech, N., & McKinlay, A. (2009). Managing in the creative industries: Managing the motley crew. Human Relations, 62, 939-962.

UNCTAD (2008), Creative Economy Report 2008, UNDP, New York, NY.



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