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The process of creative labour is often difficult for management to monitor and observe


Creative work is an art of expressing one’s own imagination and ideas (McCann, et al., 2014). This essay discusses the challenges which are faced by the organization in the context of managing the creative labour. In this context, this essay provides the assessment on the statement of Smith and McKinlay (2009), which reflects that ‘the process of creative labour is often difficult for management to monitor and observe, far less to codify and control'. It also evaluates the approaches of managing creative labour. Moreover, this essay has given special consideration towards the case study of the UK TV sector.

Creative Industry 

According to Beirne et al. (2017), the creative industry can be referred as a range of economic activities which are concerned with the generation of creating and developing new ideas, knowledge, and information. The term ‘creative' describes activities with creativity at their heart, for instance, designing, music, publishing, architecture, film, and video, crafts, visual arts, fashion, TV and radio, advertising, literature, etc. to utilize arts. Hennekam (2015) determined that the creative industry is a tool for innovation that can be implemented in other industries. At the same time, the creative industry can be understood as those industries which have their origin in individual creativity while utilizing the skill and talent. So, in this industry, creativity is used for the purpose of generating the potential for wealth and job creation. Intellectual property is the major resource of this industry as it supports to develop new ideas and uniqueness to boost the creativity.

Blamires & Peterson (2014) opined that creative industry has become an important sector in the UK that plays a big role in the national economy. It supports to boost competitiveness, productivity, employment and economic growth. In the context of TV industry of the UK, it is used more frequently for the purpose of promoting the social integration, social values, and cultural promotion and as a source of information. Bedwell et al. (2017) depicted that the significance of creative industry is increasing in the current market as it supports to boost the economic significance while giving concern towards cultural and political significance. In like manner, it also allows for social cohesion and democratic participation. According to the DCMS figures published in 2015, it is identified that in 2013, 1.71m jobs are accounted for the creative industries, which is the 5.6 percent of total UK jobs. Over the longer term, the number of jobs is increasing in this industry. Moreover, it is analyzed that the employment in the creative industry is increasing by 3.9 percent each year between 1997 and 2013.

Challenges to monitor and observe creative labour

In the context of creative industry, it is analyzed that this industry has to face the challenges to monitor and observe the creative labour. To understand the challenge of managing creative labour, the case of the UK TV sector has been taken which has supported to develop project-based creative work (O'Donnell, et al., 2016).

It is analyzed that from the past decades, there is huge change has taken place in the creative industry. Moreover, the trend of independent sector has increased and the number of freelancers has also increased. For instance, since the 1980s, fundamental structural and institutional changes have taken place in the UK TV sector. Moreover, it is identified that in the years 1982, Channel 4 and new business model has outsourced in the country, however, in the 1990s, the scenario has changed and 25% of production commission has taken place by the external firms (Ofcom, 2015). Due to this reason, the emergence of the independent sector has taken place which has also increased the freelance employment. From this, it can be evaluated that the number of freelance employees is increasing at a fast pace in this industry, which is creating a big challenge to monitor and observe them. In this context, it is analyzed that 30% of people working in the creative media industries are freelance, and this number is rising at a fast pace. This percentage was 28% in 2010 (Ofcom, 2015). The number of freelancer in creative industry varies from sector to sector, for instance, in film production, 90% creative labours are freelancers. The independent sector in the UK TV sector has taken place on the basis of the involvement of numerous small companies as well as few super-indies. Moreover, it is analyzed that various small independents work in one genre and on a limited number of commissions (Mediatique, 2015). At the same time, it is identified that only 2% of the businesses employ more than 200 people, however, 10% employ 50 or more employees, 25% employ 2 and 4 employees and 31% employ between 5 and 10 employees. Additionally, it is analyzed that 66% of the creative workers are London based and 34% are the freelancer. In like manner, it is also analyzed that the tendency of growth in the number of freelancers is increasing since 2004 (Mediatique, 2015). From this, it can be easily identified that there are only a few employees who are working as full-time employees in the UK TV industries resulting in difficult for the management to handle and monitor the creative labour. According to Souza, et al. (2015), it is a difficult task to monitor, observe, codify and control the performance of the freelance employees which create a big challenge in this industry.  

In the views of McCann& Ortega-Argilés (2016), it is essential to offer time-to-time training to the employees, however, due to increasing in the trend of freelance working in the creative industry; it has become difficult to offer adequate training. It creates hurdle towards developing adequate knowledge and skills in the creative labours, due to which unreliable creative work takes place which is not entirely unique and innovative. It creates the barrier towards delivering something new to the consumers as the freelancers can only work according to their own perceptions and views, so they only become able to work on the traditional concept. For instance, the TV industry of the UK is showing continuous expansion and with the time, their social and economic role is growing the importance (Simonova, et al., 2016). Nowadays, the value of TV products is higher based on its originality, uniqueness, performance, and appearance. Creative people with communicative skills are more in demand in this labour market. It is continuously increasing the demand for training for the upliftment of the skills. In support of this, Oka (2014) determined that training allows the creative industry to increase the quality of working of the employees which cannot be gained by freelancing profile. In like manner, it becomes highly difficult to monitor and assess the performance of the creative labour as their work is based on quality instead of quantity which creates the barrier towards adequate evaluation.

At the same time, Hampson & Junor (2015) depicted that creative industry is uncertain in nature due to change is consumer demand which cannot be pre-interpreted by the producers as well as consumers. For this purpose, change management is necessary to fulfil the contemporary market needs and to fulfil their demand. However, due to increasing number of freelancers, it becomes difficult to manage the change which is increasing the intensity of the challenge. This industry needs frequent change, and improper management creates issue towards change management and decreases the competitive advantage.

Creative industry shows distinguish nature as compared to other industries. Creative producers give concern towards non-economic satisfaction and non-pecuniary factors are utilized for motivation, employment, and participation. It also creates conflict with economic viability. This industry is based on the infinite variety of creative products however it faces the challenge of formats and the problems of replicability (McCann& Ortega-Argilés, 2016). The creativity of an individual cannot be measured by utilizing a measurement which creates the issue to monitor and codify the creativity. Moreover, it is a difficult task to compare the creativity of different individuals as different persons have different levels of creativity.

On the other hand, Mor et al. (2015) depicted that creative industry needs to utilize diverse teamwork as it remains supportive to increase the level of creativity on the basis of unique ideas, skills, perceptions, and views. However, it also creates the situation of challenge in the context of controlling. For managing the diverse cultural team, there is a need of providing adequate training so that the team members can work together and can share their views and opinions in a manner so that the effective and unique output can take place. However, due to increasing number of freelancers, it becomes difficult to create coordination between them within the finite time frame (Hampson, &Junor, 2015). So, instead of creating competitive advantage, it creates hurdle towards the success of the industry. For instance, in the context of the TV industry of the UK, it is analyzed that 57% of freelancers report a training need, which is much higher as compared to 45% of permanent employees. At the same time, it is also identified that 74% of freelancers experience the barriers to training, which is also much higher as compared to 55% of permanent employees (Advisory, 2014).

Moreover, Kong (2014) stated that due to increase in independent self-managed work, the average participation of the employees is decreasing. So, it creates the issue of creating effective management and creates the situation of challenge in codifying and controlling. For instance, there is an interdependence of skills in the TV industry, as the team members remain supportive to develop new ideas on the basis of participation and assist an individual wherever required (Smith & McKinlay, 2009). However, freelance working creates the constraint to get participation and creates issue towards developing effective product or services. For instance, it is analyzed that in the film industry, there should be the effective relationship between the editor and the producer (Hartley et al., 2015). It allows both of them to monitor and observe the creativity and to develop the effective result which cannot be achieved on the basis of freelancing work profile resulting in constraint for better monitoring and controlling. 

Comunian et al. (2014) determined that creative people face the challenge of constraints in the idea of artistic work due to formal rules and framework. Due to this reason, creative thinking takes place in a bounded conceptual space and creates constraint towards expertise, tradition, and experience. It creates issue towards developing the product on the basis of effective creativity. For instance, in the TV industry of the UK, there are lots of rules and regulations which need to be followed by the creative labour, which create hurdle towards the success of this industry and create issue towards codifying the creativity of the labour.  

In the context of the new business model of creative industry, it is analyzed that there are majorly four key players of outsourcing, i.e. channel, commissioning editor, independent companies and freelance professionals (McCann & Ortega-Argilés, 2016). Creative industry prefers to involve freelancers as it remains supportive to decrease the cost while offering the chances of market exposure, due to this reason, it decreases the risk and allows for quality improvement. However, it creates challenge towards increasing the chances of improvement and participation. Additionally, it also creates hurdle towards creating the design of the product on the basis of mutual understanding. 

In support of this, Comunian et al. (2014) stated that in most of the cases, creative labour shows non-routine work culture, which creates the issue to run the organization on a regular basis and in an effective manner. Additionally, it also creates constraint towards monitoring and assessing the individual performance. Creative labour becomes able to work in an established tradition as they do not become able to get proper training to work according to the changing environment need. In the context of the TV sector, the producer needs to be involved both in conceptual as well as operative elements. For this purpose, there is a need of involving all the team members at a particular point in time. This becomes highly difficult to involve all the team members in the context of freelance creative labours.

On the other hand, it is identified that there is a myth that creative labours are self-motivated and there is a need of very little need control over this labour type (Hartley, et al., 2015). They also need motivation from their leaders and top management and also need to be controlled for delivering quality work in a particular time frame. They also have to face peer-pressure and performance targets. So, to make this team work in a right direction while developing effective control, there is a need of making the adequate social relationship with the employer as it remains supportive to increase the productivity. Moreover, the firm needs to understand the creative labour that glamour is attached with their industry, so there is a need of changing the creativity according to the need of glamour world (Santos & Lack, 2016). There is a need of developing the feeling in the creative workers that they are attached to the process and the product of the firm. So, they have to involve commitment and pleasure for their work as well as for the overall organizational process.  

Approaches to Manage 

In the views of Schierup et al. (2015), new business opportunities are continuously appearing in the creative industry. Moreover, due to increase in the trend of globalization, hiring top talent from different backgrounds is becoming an accepted business practice. Most companies benefit from a diverse environment, but there are always certain challenges that may arise. In this context, it is analyzed that following are the major risk of the creative industry. Hawkins (2015) stated that creative work team shows eagerness to learn new things, so if all the creative team members of an organization become able to meet with each other in a specific time period, then it will remain supportive to get understanding of the work and to create collaborative understanding. The creative members which do not become able to present at that particular time period can be joined in the meeting while utilizing video conferencing. At the same time, the creative industry can also give concern towards highly personalized and unique skills instead of giving concern towards deskilling strategies. Moreover, the creative firm can give concern towards creating effective communication group where the individuals can get interacted with the team members easily (Peltoniemi, 2015). In the current, high tech environment, it is easy to develop effective communication medium. At the same time, it is identified that control strategies majorly rely on the high level of self-motivation. For this purpose, the creative industry needs to give concern towards increasing the self-confidence and morale of the employees so that they become able to improve their performance which will allow boosting the overall organizational performance (Hennekam, 2015). On the basis of the success, of the organization, the firm can become able to codify the potential or efforts of the creative labour. 

Moreover, utilizing the checklist can also be remained supportive to monitor and assess the performance of an individual. Additionally, it also supports to control the individual performance and to take corrective actions according to it. Giving concern towards the hiring of freelancers remain supportive for the firm to reduce the administrative costs, however, providing them training creates the challenge for this industry. So, for eliminating this challenge, the firm can plan for designing particular days training to the freelance team and can also plan for only tutorials (Blamires & Peterson, 2014). Moreover, employing the test after training will remain supportive for monitoring and assessing the employee performance.  It will remain supportive for increased scrutiny of managerial creative capabilities.

In addition, O'Donnell et al. (2016) depicted that the leader must understand to give concern towards eliminating the situation of and should give concern towards applying the discrimination laws and the penalties for violating them. Moreover, there is a need of developing the knowledge of this legislation and should share the knowledge among the workgroup to reduce the numbers of conflicts. Creating the effective relationship between the regular team and different freelancers is a difficult task. So, in this context, creating rules and regulations regarding eliminating discrimination and inequality will remain supportive to create the effective environment.

Moreover, creating the comfortable atmosphere for the company leaders supports to welcome the diverse skill set and empowers them to work as a team. This also plays an important role and equally contributes to training and awarding without any discrimination. In the views of Souza et al. (2015), team building and the free flow of communication remains supportive for team building activities. It includes strategic games, sharing stories and experience, role play and much more. Free flow of communication is an equally important factor without which even the sturdiest and competent organizations do not become able to survive in the industry. It allows sharing ideas, concerns, queries, solutions, etc. to ensure the healthy environment.

The individuals who together comprise organizations like clubs, charities, companies, local councils or government departments. All the organizations depend on people for their skills, energies, experience, and attitudes. So, motivation is a key factor in the employment and the management of people (McCann& Ortega-Argilés, 2016).Development of individuals in the sense of learning, growing, progressing, acquiring knowledge and skills are also an important aspect to help the creative organization itself to develop. The motivation of the creative labours plays vital role in the growth of the organization as all these parameters are interlinked.


From the above essay, it can be concluded that creative industry is different from other industries. Moreover, increase in the trend of independence in this industry; it is creating challenges towards monitoring and assessing the creative labours. However, this challenge can be mitigated on the basis of utilizing effective approach. Utilization of effective approaches remains supportive to monitor and assess the performance of the creative labours while effectively codifying and controlling them.

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