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Reducing creative labour precarity: beyond network connections

Benjamin Stuart Rodney Farr-Wharton (Southern Cross Business School, Southern Cross University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia)
Kerry Brown (School of Management, Curtin Business School, Perth, Western Australia)
Robyn Keast (Southern Cross Business School, Southern Cross University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia)
Yuliya Shymko (Entrepreneurship, Governance and Strategy Area, Vlerick Business School, Gent, Belgium)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 18 May 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of organisational business acumen and social network structure on the earnings and labour precarity experienced by creative industry workers.

Design/methodology/approach

Results from a survey that collected data from a random sample of 289 creative workers are analysed using structural equation modelling. Mediating effects of social network structure are explored.

Findings

Results support the qualitative findings of Crombie and Hagoort (2010) who claim that organisational business acumen is a significant enabler for creative workers. Further, social network structure has a partial mediating effect in mitigating labour precarity.

Research limitations/implications

This exploratory study is novel in its use of a quantitative approach to understand the relationship between labour and social network dynamics of the creative industries. For this reason, developed scales, while robust in exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, warrant further application and maturity.

Practical implications

The organisational business acumen of creative workers is found to mitigate labour precarity and increase perceived earnings.

Social implications

The results from this study call for policy and management shifts, to focus attention on developing business proficiency of creative workers, in an effort to curb labour precarity in the creative industries, and enhance positive spillovers into other sectors.

Originality/value

The paper fills a gap in knowledge regarding the impact of organisational business acumen and social network structure on the pay and working conditions of people working in a sector that is dominated by self-employed and freelance arrangements.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This publication has been supported through the Australian Government’s Collaborative Research Networks (CRN) program.

Citation

Farr-Wharton, B.S.R., Brown, K., Keast, R. and Shymko, Y. (2015), "Reducing creative labour precarity: beyond network connections", Management Decision, Vol. 53 No. 4, pp. 857-875. https://doi.org/10.1108/MD-05-2014-0269

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited