How Aesthetics and Economy Become Conversant in Creative Firms

Robert D. Austin, Daniel Hjorth, Shannon Hessel

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Research on creative organizations often highlights a concern that economic influences on creative work might crowd out aesthetic influences. How this concern can be managed, however, is not well understood. Using a case study of an economic/aesthetic conflict within a design firm, we develop theory to describe how the economic and aesthetic can be constructively combined. We propose the concept of conversation as a way of theorizing a constructed sociality via which creative firms manage this conflict; we also propose the concept of ensemble as a way of theorizing a conversationally nurtured but fragile form of intensified sociality that most successfully combines conflicting influences when it can be achieved. Together, these theoretical conceptualizations contribute new insights and help organize a fragmented landscape of ideas about work in creative firms.
Research on creative organizations often highlights a concern that economic influences on creative work might crowd out aesthetic influences. How this concern can be managed, however, is not well understood. Using a case study of an economic/aesthetic conflict within a design firm, we develop theory to describe how the economic and aesthetic can be constructively combined. We propose the concept of conversation as a way of theorizing a constructed sociality via which creative firms manage this conflict; we also propose the concept of ensemble as a way of theorizing a conversationally nurtured but fragile form of intensified sociality that most successfully combines conflicting influences when it can be achieved. Together, these theoretical conceptualizations contribute new insights and help organize a fragmented landscape of ideas about work in creative firms.
LanguageEnglish
JournalOrganization Studies
Volume39
Issue number11
Pages1501-1519
Number of pages19
ISSN0170-8406
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2018

Bibliographical note

Published online: 26. October 2017

Keywords

  • Conversation
  • Creative economy
  • Creative firms
  • Ensemble
  • Group creativity
  • Organizational aesthetics

Cite this

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How Aesthetics and Economy Become Conversant in Creative Firms. / Austin, Robert D.; Hjorth, Daniel; Hessel, Shannon.

In: Organization Studies, Vol. 39, No. 11, 11.2018, p. 1501-1519.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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