Marsden grants

View the School of Management research projects awarded Marsden Fund grants.

Glamour and grind: New creative workers

Principal Investigators: Associate Professor Deborah Jones, School of Management , Dr Judith Pringle, Auckland University of Technology

Associate Investigators: Ella Henry, AUT, Dr Rachel Wolfgramm, University of Auckland Business School, Dr Keith Randle, University of Hertfordshire Business School, UK

This project, funded by the Marsden Fund from 2008-2011, was based at the School of Management.

Glamour and Grind: New Creative Workers, is funded by the Marsden Fund from 2008-2011, which supports ‘innovative fundamental research’ that encourages new thinking and is not tied to specific policy agendas or outcomes. Our starting point has been the recent emergence of a ‘new creative’ worker, operating across the old boundaries of ‘arts’ and ‘business’ in what is now called the ‘creative industries’. The overall goal of Glamour and Grind is to develop theories about the identities and careers of ‘new creative’ workers, using the New Zealand film industry as our example.

Creative industries have entered the spotlight over the last decade, in New Zealand and internationally. There is a new generation of creative workers developing in this new environment, and a new framework for longer-term creative careers. The success of the New Zealand film industry has highlighted the work of local film-makers. In this project we explore the careers of ‘new creative’ workers, using the New Zealand film industry as a case study. Film industry work combines traditional arts and crafts with new technologies and forms of entrepreneurship. It includes subgroups from many types of creative industries, and overlaps with work in other creative media, and so may suggest trends in a wider range of creative careers. People often work as free-lancers, in a combination of jobs which make up a portfolio career. It has been argued that a ‘glamour’ factor attracts workers to creative careers, in spite of the ‘grind’ – the reality that pay can be low, work precarious, and conditions tough.

The project includes both Māori and non-Māori perspectives, asking film workers how they see themselves and their careers as they develop over time. This is a longitudinal qualitative study which examines film work and creative from the perspectives of insiders through initial life-history interviews and follow-up interviews. These will be analysed in the context of a preliminary series of industry interviews and an archive of extensive secondary data.

Glamour&Grind aims to contribute to knowledge by critically analysing the ways that the concept of the new creative worker plays out through individual (but networked) careers. We believe that New Zealand data will provide contrasts with existing studies from the UK and USA. We expect to contribute to both career theory and to the study of work in the creative industries, especially film.

In search of the Business School public intellectual

Principal Investigator: Dr Todd Bridgman, School of Management

Associate Investigator: Professor Christopher Grey, Warwick Business School

Marsden Fast-Start Grant, March 2008-February 2010. $170,000 over two years.

Todd’s Marsden research asks the question ‘where are the public intellectuals?’ There is no shortage of intellectuals conducting research in Universities and no shortage of public commentators offering an opinion of the major issues of the day. However, there are very few public intellectuals – academics who write for a non-specialist audience on matters of public interest. Business and Management is deeply implicated in major issues of public debate (e.g. climate change, globalisation and public ethics), yet business school academics are conspicuously absent from the public sphere.

In the past, Universities have been the central institution providing these public intellectuals. Yet increasingly they have been supplanted by think-tanks, consultants, journalists and the proliferating ‘blogosphere’, with academics blamed for retreating into a private and self-referential world of specialist publications and arcane debates. Academics have, potentially, a unique role to play. In New Zealand, under the Education Act 1989, Universities have an obligation to “accept a role as critic and conscience of society”; however a series of market reforms in the past 20 years appear to accord little status to this role. The empirical component of the research involves a case study of the contribution of academics and other experts in New Zealand to public discussion of the Global Financial Crisis.

Exploring the dynamics of difference in organizational mergers and acquisitions

Principal Investigator: Dr. Sally Riad, School of Management

Funded by the Marsden Fund through a Fast-Start Grant between March 2007 and February 2009 ($140,000 over two years)

Mergers and acquisitions are frequent and relevant phenomena in organizational life; hardly a week goes by without news of mergers, both public and private, featuring in the press. Worldwide, merger activity over the last decade has been unprecedented. Merger accounts, however, consistently claim challenges due to ‘differences’ between the merging organisations which complicate their integration. Yet, there is a dearth in current merger research of a rigorous examination of the notion of ‘difference’. For example, in merger accounts, two meanings of ‘difference’ are often conflated: difference as “not the same” and difference as in “quarrel or conflict” – most commonly surfacing in the term “cultural differences”. This research challenges such conflation: it examines the potentially productive effects of difference, and critically inquires into how difference sometimes becomes framed as problematic rather than constructive in mergers. Overall, it examines patterns by which identity and difference are constructed by organizational members, and then come to shape integrational practices. As such, the research conclusions bear significance for organisation studies generally, and merger integration specifically. It stands within the forefront of merger theorization, identifying patterns of difference that make a difference in merger integration. The position adopted opens up new possibilities for change and provides a platform for comparing New Zealand mergers with international experiences.