Networks in the shadow of markets and hierarchies : calling the shots in the visual effects industry

Thompson, Paul, Parker, Rachel L., & Cox, Stephen D. (2009) Networks in the shadow of markets and hierarchies : calling the shots in the visual effects industry. In Proceedings of : EGOS 2009 : 25th European Group for Organizational Studies Conference, Barcelona, Spain.


The nature and organisation of creative industries and the creative economy has received increased attention in recent academic and policy literatures (Florida 2002; Grabher 2002; Scott 2006a). Constituted as one variant on new economy narratives, creativity, alongside knowledge, has been presented as a key competitive asset, Such industries – ranging from advertising, to film and new media – are seen as not merely expanding their scale and scope, but as leading edge proponents of a more general trend towards new forms of organization and economic coordination (Davis and Scase 2000). The idea of network forms (and the consequent displacement of markets and hierarchies) has been at the heart of attempts to differentiate the field economically and spatially. Across both the discussion of production models and work/employment relations is the assertion of the enhanced importance of trust and non-market relations in coordinating structures and practices. This reflects an influential view in sociological, management, geography and other literatures that social life is ‘intrinsically networked’ (Sunley 2008: 12) and that we can confidently use the term ‘network society’ to describe contemporary structures and practices (Castells 1996).

Our paper is sceptical of the conceptual and empirical foundations of such arguments. We draw on a number of theoretical resources, including institutional theory, global value chain analysis and labour process theory (see Smith and McKinlay 2009) to explore how a more realistic and grounded analysis of the nature of and limits to networks can be articulated. Given space constraints, we cannot address all the dimensions of network arguments or evidence. Our focus is on inter and intra-firm relations and draws on research into a particular creative industry – visual effects – that is a relatively new though increasingly important global production network. Through this examination a different model of the creative industries and creative work emerges – one in which market rules and patterns of hierarchical interaction structure the behaviour of economic actors and remain a central focus of analysis. The next section outlines and unpacks in more detail arguments concerning the role and significance of networks, markets and hierarchies in production models and work organisation in creative industries and the ‘creative economy’.

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ID Code: 29048
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Networksts, Markets , Hierarchies, Visual Effects Industry
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Organisation and Management Theory (150310)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Business Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 please contact the authors
Deposited On: 04 Dec 2009 02:42
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2017 14:41

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