Gender and entrepreneurship in creative industry career journeys

Carey, Charlotte (2013) Gender and entrepreneurship in creative industry career journeys. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.


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This thesis represents an interdisciplinary study with original theoretical contributions to knowledge identified across three distinct disciplines: Entrepreneurship, the Creative Industries and Gender Studies along with methodological contributions with regards the use of research diaries as a data source.

The last fifteen years have seen a huge focus, from policy makers and researchers, on entrepreneurship and the creative industries. Both have been seen as key drivers for economic growth in the UK and beyond. Studies have been wide and varied, looking at both disciplines individually and more recently where they converge. However, there is a paucity of research into the role that gender plays within this sector, and specifically the impact of gender on entrepreneurship within the creative industries.

Using a highly reflexive approach, this study examined the career stories of a cohort of fine art graduates, the cohort with whom the researcher had graduated (1991-94, BA Fine Art, Wolverhampton School of Art and Design). The rationale was to make the best use of insider perspective and to access a group who had all had the same starting point, were within a similar age group (38-44), had worked through the ‘Blairite’ creative industries/economy policy framework and most likely had had to consider their ambitions as parents. It was considered that this group would offer a concentrated sample of creative graduates’ experience.

Participants were interviewed using a narrative methodology and detailed career stories were gathered. The study took an inductive, grounded theory approach, making use of memoing and research diaries to aid reflexivity. Though a process of open, axial and thematic coding (Strauss and Corbin, 2003) themes emerged which, although linked to the original literature, also extended to new themes and topics which helped to better understand and explain where entrepreneurship fits within creative industry career journeys. Both theoretical and methodological contributions to knowledge are made:

The study provided an evolved or hybrid approach to using Grounded theory with a reflexive insider perspective. The methods drew upon the work of Charmaz (2005), who addressed issues of reflexivity within Grounded theory, and Nadin and Cassell (2006) who advocated the use of the research diary in the field. This study offers fresh insights and an approach to tackling reflexivity through journaling and the use of the research diary as a source of primary data at the point of analysis.

The research has identified three main theoretical contributions, first: explanations as to why artistic identity can remain strong amongst fine art graduates. The research highlights that: artistic identity can act as both a motivator and hindrance to entrepreneurial activity. Second: The research provided an explanation of differential degrees of career identity between the genders: for women parental identity was more compatible with artistic identity than career identity. Men tended to embrace career identity. Third: the research identified different career types experienced by gender and offered explanation as to how these manifest. It indicated that women are more likely, than men, to pursue their artistic endeavours; maternity career breaks for women provide an opportunity to re-engage with artistic endeavours. Men are likely to work within a creative discipline, not pursue their individual artistic endeavours but experience greater career success, in terms of financial reward and promotion. A major finding is offered in terms of a set of archetypes which emerged through the analysis and development of an integrative model. These archetypes offer a ‘shorthand’ to types of career experienced, and highlight and explain how and where entrepreneurship manifests itself within the careers of male and female creative graduates.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
June 2013Completed
Subjects: CAH17 - business and management > CAH17-01 - business and management > CAH17-01-09 - others in business and management
CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-01 - creative arts and design > CAH25-01-05 - others in creative arts and design
Divisions: Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > Birmingham City Business School
Depositing User: Richard Birley
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2017 14:48
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2023 11:49

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