Motivating creative employees in creative businesses

Tim Fremmich Andresen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The creative industries are different from the traditional industries – they produce something different, something we cannot quite put our finger on. We may know what the product is, but why we like or dislike it is more difficult to say. It has to do with the non-utilitarian nature of what creative businesses produce; it can be artistic, cultural, and entertaining. Whatever it is, it strikes a chord in our emotions and we can accredit this effect to the work of creative people. Sometimes the effort can be attributed to a single artist or a small group, working independently. Yet often creativity springs to life in a creative company with creative employees. Being employees they have to follow the strategies and visions of the management, in addition to doing what they love – being creative. So how can a company ensure that the creative employees are motivated to do their job? Traditionally there are a few well-known methods, which make people go to work: Give people a salary to ensure their survival and they will work. Tell them that they are doing well and they will feel that what they do matter. Conduct appraisal sessions in order for them to be evaluated and allow them input on their work-related future. Provide them with development opportunities and they are better equipped for promotions and new tasks. But will this work with creative employees who have a reputation for being difficult to manage, emotional and act like primadonnas? Little research has been carried out to discover this and the present thesis thus investigates how to motivate creative employees in creative businesses and if it is done differently compared to traditional industries. It is proposed that creative employees do need to be motivated differently. Although lessons may be learned from traditional industries, methods for motivating creative employees must be custom made for this particular group. To nuance the methods, we need to better understand what motivation is, what characterizes the creative industries, and how to motivate exclusively for creativity. With this knowledge, methods for motivating creative employees in creative businesses are discussed in the thesis. The methods may not all motivate; some may just be a cause of job dissatisfaction if not handled correctly. The results of the thesis are generated through a management perspective. Of course motivation is not just a top-down process and future research could combine the knowledge of this thesis with an employee perspective to bring us closer to generalities about how to motivate creative employees in creative businesses.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2009
Number of pages81