Studying Creative Workers

[We’re pleased to welcome author Dr. Holly Patrick of Edinburgh Napier University. She recently published an article in Management Learning entitled “Nested tensions and smoothing tactics: An ethnographic examination of ambidexterity in a theatre,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Patrick briefly describes her motivations for this research and her findings:]

What motivated you to pursue this research?

The Creative Industries, and the theatre industry in particular, is a thrilling and extremely rewarding arena for research. The content of the work is inherently fascinating to me, and most employees (from the artists on stage to the box office staff) are driven by a love of the art form, and by a commitment to one another. Aside from the pleasure of researching such a vibrant community, there are a couple of reasons why research in this area is particularly worthy. First, the production of art is in many ways the production of society, as it generates new ideas and new understandings of culture, identity and society which diffuse through high and popular creative forms to influence all areas of life. Second, creative workers and organisations are becoming increasingly important to the economy of developed countries as the manufacturing industry shrinks and certain areas of service work become automated.

What has been the most challenging aspect of conducting your research? Were there any surprising findings?

My research is ethnographic – based on observation, participant observation and interviews. It is a lot to ask that anyone allows another person to follow them around and take notes on a regular basis for an extended period of time. This wasn’t helped by the fact that I was a PhD student adopting an inductive methodology – so I didn’t walk into the theatre with a research question. Participants often wanted to know ‘what are you trying to find out?’ and ‘I’m not quite sure yet’ never felt like a very satisfactory answer! Despite being open and honest about this, ambiguity breeds insecurity, and sometimes I had to adjust my techniques and my plans to deal with the discomfort participants felt at my presence in their workspace (which in some cases were usually private, such as rehearsals). The findings I present in this paper about the linguistic tactics used to deal with paradox are some of the most interesting in the project, and resulted from me being able to develop a close and sustained relationship with a production team – but it was not without its challenges. I remember an actor who was having a difficult rehearsal legitimately (if a little uncomfortably) asking ‘what the f*** was I writing about in my notebook anyway’. Accounts of methodology are often sanitised in papers, but doing research is all about understanding and responding to participants concerns, which helps build our knowledge of the field and our reflexivity about the impacts of our methods on others.

What advice would you give to new scholar and incoming researchers in this particular field of study?

Paradox is a rapidly evolving area so going to conferences in key to keeping up with the field. IF you are considering research the Creative Industries, it is important to bear in mind that much of the foundational literature was written in an era of investment and political hype around the value of creativity to the economy. We do not live in the same world today, and contemporary research in the UK needs to focus on the value of the creative economy in a post-crash, austerity-driven context.

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Happy New Year from Management INK!

To celebrate winter on this New Year’s Eve, here is a collection of beautiful, winter-themed art:

Boris Mikhaylovich Kustodiev - Pancake Tuesday, Butter Week

Pancake Tuesday (Maslenista) by Boris Mikhaylovich Kustodiev

Cathedral Rock - Albert Beirstadt

Cathedral Rock by Albert Beirstadt

Ohara Keizan - Plum Tree in Snow

Plum Tree in Snow by Ohara Keizan

William Bradford - Fishing Fleet off Labrador

Fishing Fleet off Labrador by William Bradford

Albert Dubois-Pillet - Le Puy in the Snow

Le Puy in the Snow by Albert Dubois-Pillet

Karl Roux - Waldlandschaft in Winter

Waldlandschaft in Winter by Karl Roux

Norbert Goeneutte - Le Boulevard de Clichy par temps de neige

Le Boulevard de Clichy par temps de neige by Norbert Goeneutte

Happy New Year from Management INK!

The Oscars, Creativity and Management Research

pseudo-oskar-1414835-mAnd the Oscar goes to…

You may have heard that the 2015 Oscars/Academy Awards are being telecast today to a worldwide audience. At this time each year we turn our attention to the world of entertainment and how it’s portrayed and studied in top research. This always yields an interesting array of articles.

And here they are… 15 articles spanning film, television and the arts on topics such as: unpaid work, race and gender issues, cultural entrepreneurship, arts-based management education, films you may have missed, and much more.

Read the articles free through March 31st.


Neil Percival and David Hesmondhalgh
Unpaid Work in the UK television and film industries: Resistance and changing attitudes  (European Journal of Communication: April 2014)

Iain Munro and Silvia Jordan
‘Living Space’ at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Spatial tactics and the politics of smooth space (Human Relations: November 2013)

Leslie Stager Jacques
Borrowing From Professional Theatre Training to Build Essential Skills in Organization Development Consultants (The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science: June 2013)

Jason Smith
Between Colorblind and Colorconscious: Contemporary Hollywood Films and Struggles Over Racial Representation (Journal of Black Studies: November 2013)

Jessica Birthisel and Jason A. Martin
“That’s What She Said”: Gender, Satire, and the American Workplace on the Sitcom The Office (Journal of Communication Inquiry: January 2013)

Tohyun Kim and Mooweon Rhee
Structural and Behavioral Antecedents of Change: Status, Distinctiveness, and Relative Performance (Journal of Management: July 2014)

Jen Katz-Buonincontro
Decorative Integration or Relevant Learning? A Literature Review of Studio Arts-Based Management Education With Recommendations for Teaching and Research (Journal of Management Education: February 2015)

Sonal Minocha, George Stonehouse and Martin Reynolds
Bollywood on Creativity: An Interview With the Internationally Acclaimed Film Director Shekhar Kapur (Journal of Management Inquiry: April 2014)

Alexia Panayiotou
Spacing gender, gendering space: A radical “strong plot” in film (Management Learning: July 2014)

Pablo Dominguez Andersen
The Hollywood Beach Party Genre and the Exotification of Youthful White Masculinity in Early 1960s America (Men and Masculinities: November 2014)

Matt Witt
Out of the Mainstream: Books and Films You May Have Missed (New Labor Forum: January/February 2013)

Eric Yanfei Zhao, Masakazu Ishihara and Michael Lounsbury
Overcoming the Illegitimacy Discount: Cultural Entrepreneurship in the US Feature Film Industry (Organization Studies: December 2013)

Sarah Franzen
Engaging a specific, not general, public: the use of ethnographic film in public scholarship (Qualitative Research: August 2013)

Daniel Ashton
Making Media Workers: Contesting Film and Television Industry Career Pathways (Television & New Media: March 2015)

Keith Randle, Cynthia Forson and Moira Calveley
Towards a Bourdieusian analysis of the social composition of the UK film and television workforce (Work, Employment & Society: October 2014)

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Using Creativity and Beauty to Find Solutions

boat-in-lake-1368014-mThe news isn’t always uplifting: declining home price growth, sinking big business profits, and rising gas prices can make for an economy that is less than reassuring. How can we even start to fix it? According to Nancy Adler there is hope if we allow our passions to lead us to creative solutions and we strive towards a sense of beauty in our leadership.

You can watch the video of Nancy Adler speaking on this topic by clicking here. Nancy Adler also published a paper on this topic entitled “Leading Beautifully: The Creative Economy and Beyond” in Journal of Management Inquiry.

The abstract:

“These times are riven with anxiety and uncertainty” asserts John O’Donohue.1 “In the hearts of people some natural ease has been broken. . . . Our trust in the future JMI_72ppiRGB_powerpointhas lost its innocence. We know now that anything can happen. . . . The traditional structures of shelter are shaking, their foundations revealed to be no longer stone but sand. We are suddenly thrown back on ourselves. At first, it sounds completely naïve to suggest that now might be the time to invoke beauty. Yet this is exactly what . . . [we claim]. Why? Because there is nowhere else to turn and we are desperate; furthermore, it is because we have so disastrously neglected the Beautiful that we now find ourselves in such a terrible crisis.”2

Twenty-first century society yearns for a leadership of possibility, a leadership based more on hope, aspiration, innovation, and beauty than on the replication of historical patterns of constrained pragmatism. Luckily, such a leadership is possible today. For the first time in history, leaders can work backward from their aspirations and imagination rather than forward from the past.3 “The gap between what people can imagine and what they can accomplish has never been smaller.”4

Responding to the challenges and yearnings of the twenty-first century demands anticipatory creativity. Designing options worthy of implementation calls for levels of inspiration, creativity, and a passionate commitment to beauty that, until recently, have been more the province of artists and artistic processes than the domain of most managers. The time is right for the artistic imagination of each of us to co-create the leadership that the world most needs and deserves.

The article “Leading Beautifully: The Creative Economy and Beyond” from Journal of Management Inquiry can be read for free by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest news and research like this from Journal of Management Inquiry? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

An Interview With the Internationally Acclaimed Film Director Shekhar Kapur

video-camera-1412649-mWe’re pleased to feature Journal of Management Inquiry‘s “Meet the Person.” Sonal Minocha, George Stonehouse and Martin Reynolds interviewed film director Shekhar Kapur, asking questions regarding his background, his thoughts on creativity, the role of education, and more.

This interview and literature review serve our purpose of providing a deeper understanding of the concept of creativity and extend its literature base through the creative practitioner lens of a film director. Driven by past research we have conducted into Bollywood (Minocha & Stonehouse, 2006), we felt that a natural progression for that work was to interview a leading creative professional from the world’s largest film industry. This has been used to develop our understanding of creativity through the perspectives developedJMI_72ppiRGB_powerpoint through his experience of one of the most creative of all industries, filmmaking. This follows the tradition of Essex and Mainemelis in Journal of Management Inquiry (JMI) in 2002, when they interviewed David Whyte and presented their views on what lessons could be learnt from art, his work including his poetry. Our objective was to contribute to the understanding of creativity and innovation in business by employing Shekhar Kapur as a representative of that “different lens” through his experiences in filmmaking, made even more pertinent by Shekhar’s ability to transcend the cultural nuances of creativity in Eastern and Western contexts.

Entrepreneurial Evolution and the Magazine Industry

new-magazines-1110330-mHappy 4th of July! To celebrate this relaxing, barbeque and family-fun filled holiday, we’re happy to provide you with a unique look into the history of the American magazine. In their article from Administrative Science Quarterly entitled “How Entrepreneurship Evolves: The Founders of New Magazines in America, 1741-1860,” authors Heather A. Haveman, Jacob Habinek and Leo A. Goodman explore this business to find out if new entrepreneurs find it harder to compete with existing industry insiders or if a well-established market gives new endeavors a leg up.

The abstract:

We craft a historically sensitive model of entrepreneurship linking individual actors to the evolving social structures they must navigate to acquire resources and launch new ventures. Theories of entrepreneurship and industry evolution suggest two opposing hypotheses: as an industry develops, launching a new venture may become more difficult for all but industry insiders and the socially prominent because of competition fromASQ_v59n2_Jun2014_cover.indd large incumbents, or it may become easier for all people because the legitimacy accorded to the industry simplifies the entrepreneurial task. To test these two conflicting claims, we study the American magazine industry from 1741 to 1860. We find that magazine publishing was originally restricted to publishing-industry insiders, professionals, and the highly educated, but most later founders came from outside publishing and more were of middling stature. Gains by entrepreneurs from the social periphery, however, were uneven: most were doctors and clergy without college degrees in small urban areas; magazines founded by industry insiders remained predominant in the industry centers. Our analysis demonstrates the importance of grounding studies of entrepreneurship in historical context. It also shows that entrepreneurship scholars must attend to temporal shifts within the focal industry and in society at large.

Click here to read “How Entrepreneurship Evolves: The Founders of New Magazines in America, 1741-1860” from Administrative Science Quarterly. Make sure to sign up for e-alerts and get notified on research like this from Administrative Science Quarterly!

Can Poetry Benefit Business Students?

ink-pot-1078835-m[We’re pleased to welcome Carolyn M. Plump who collaborated with William Van Buskirk for Clare Morgan’s What Poetry Brings to Business.]

While searching for creative ways to reach our students, we came across Clare Morgan’s book, What Poetry Brings to Business. The book has innovative suggestions for how one can use poetry to expand business skills. Although the idea of using poems to enhance business concepts was intriguing, we were unsure whether it would prove useful in actual practice. We were pleasantly surprised by the results. We found students were more actively engaged in the classroom discussions when we introduced poetry. We also found students who typically did not speak during class began offering their opinions when we did poetry exercises. Finally, weJME_72ppiRGB_powerpoint found poetry allowed the students to break out of traditional business paradigms and approach solving situations in new ways. We now use poetry in a variety of our classes, including classes on globalization (e.g., to demonstrate how stakeholders looking at a situation can have different points of views and perceptions), ethics (e.g., to demonstrate how different ethical views have validity even if they are not the same as your view), and law (e.g., to demonstrate how contractual terms can be interpreted differently and cases can be distinguished depending on your client’s position). We even flipped the idea by collaborating with our colleagues in the liberal arts department to discuss what business can teach their students. We hope you enjoy our article and find the information useful for your classes. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

The review, “Roses Are Red, Money is Green: A Resource Review of What Poetry Brings to Business” is available to read for free by clicking here from Journal of Management Education. Don’t want to miss out on all the latest research and reviews from Journal of Management Education? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!