Becoming a Creative Performer - How creative workers endure in a business-oriented world

University essay from Handelshögskolan i Stockholm/Institutionen för redovisning och finansiering

Abstract: In this thesis we examine how creative workers manage their performance at work, and how they are affected by the tensions between creativity and accounting. By drawing on a cross-sectional interview study we aim to provide a comprehensive understanding for how the creative worker is involved in accounting for creative performance. Utilizing the theoretical lens of Foucault and his notion of discipline, we find that creative workers depend on both self-control and formal control, to manage their performance. Previous literature has shown that creative workers often have identity tensions due to the competing interests of creative and business successes. We explain how creative workers are managing these identity tensions by creating hybrid identities by internalizing business perspectives. Our findings show that more senior creative workers experience less tension than more junior. Additionally, we develop the concept of productive friction found in previous literature. Here, we suggest that cross-functional teams, with a continuous collaboration between individuals with different skill sets, are better at turning the tension between creativity and control into something constructive. Productive tension seems to be reached by establishing mutual goals and a common language between participants.

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