Sub-theme 23: Digital Technology and the Creative Industries

Jonathan Sapsed
University of Brighton, UK
Vincent Mangematin
Grenoble School of Management, France
Elke Schüßler
Free University of Berlin, Germany

Call for Papers

(also for a Special Issue of Technological Forecasting and Social Change)


Our subtheme addresses the urgent challenges of the digital revolution for industrial and organizational restructuring in the creative industries (see Caves, 2000; DCMS, 2008). Digital technologies fundamentally shake existing business models of transaction and distribution (disassembly), yet they also offer reassembly through new tools for creativity, new architectures for mass collaboration and user involvement, and the accelerated generation of new market categories. Organizational innovation in these industries does not only concern products and strategies, but is closely implicated with broader societal change processes touching legislation, infrastructure, communication patterns, and the value of culture. In a 'mature' creative industry such as recorded music, new networks of artists, netlabels and intermediaries are creating value from the digital distribution of music using creative commons licences. They confront the traditional business model based on record sales by major label rights-holders, but also challenge the rules of cultural production – as Lessig (2004) has argued: the "nature and future of creativity". Meanwhile, 'digital native' sectors such as video games development or computer-generated animation and visual effects are based on a business model characterized by continuous innovation, project-based work organization and capital, and unstable employment. These industries are in a constant process of organizational re-assembly.

By analyzing the varying roles of digital technology in the creative industries, we hope to better understand complex innovation and transformation processes on a number of levels – from organizational practices to industry structures – and in a number of spheres – economic, legal, and social –, spanning both national and transnational institutional arrangements.

We call for theoretical and empirical papers that may be qualitative or quantitative in method. Themes are suggested but not limited to the following areas:

  • How do old business models collapse in organizational terms? What can we learn from detailed case studies? How are new business models discovered, devised and implemented? What is the role of private and public actors in pursuing systemic business model innovation strategies? How is the success of these strategies assessed?
  • How do existing firms rejuvenate through digital technologies and creative industries?
  • Which are the actor groups that benefit from digitalization and which lose? What are the effects on the creation and distribution of value?
  • What is the role of collective action processes as seen in social movements in overcoming rigidities?
  • To what extent are digital and material organization forms substitutes or complementary? To what extent are boundaries permeable between the different business models?
  • How do organizational boundaries and managerial practices change with the digitalization of products and processes?
  • What is the relationship between digital processes and the openness of innovation? Is creation democratized through digital technologies?
  • Which are the impacts of digitalization on the world of creation? How does creation evolve? Which would be the new forms of exhibitions, appropriation, and collection of arts in a digital world?
  • To what extent does digitalization transform the geography of creation? Globalization? Co-creation by distant artists?
  • How does digitalization compare to other forms of technological innovation in creative industries?


Furthermore, we invite you to submit your paper to a Special Issue on the same topic edited by us in "Technological Forecasting and Social Change".

If you are interested in contributing to this Special Issue, please note that the deadline for submission of full papers is October 30, 2011.

All submitted papers will go through the normal review process and only those that meet the requirements of TFSC will be accepted for publication.

Manuscripts should be submitted online via Elsevier's online submission system (see: indicating in the letter that they are for this Special Issue. Please also refer to TFSC's "Guide for Authors" for the styling and formatting guidelines:




Caves, R.E. (2000): Creative Industries: Contracts between Art and Commerce. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) (2008): Creative Britain – New talents for the new economy. London: DCMS.
Lessig, L. (2004): Free Culture: The Nature and Future of Creativity. New York: Penguin.


Jonathan Sapsed 
Vincent Mangematin 
Elke Schüßler