AMD Special Research Forum - Creative Industries: Challenges and Opportunities of Digital Technologies

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AMD Special Research Forum Call for Submissions: Creative Industries. Submission period: 1 September-30 September 2024.

Academy of Management Discoveries (AMD)
Special Research Forum
Creative Industries: Challenges and Opportunities of Digital Technologies

Guest Editors

Candace Jones, University of Edinburgh and Associate Editor, Academy of Management Discoveries); Noah Askin, University of California, Irvine; Frédéric Godart, INSEAD, France; Sarah Harvey, University College London; and Damon J. Phillips, University of Pennsylvania.


In 2023, the Hollywood writers (Writers Guild) and actors (SAG-AFTRA) unions engaged in strikes against major global film and television producers. These strikes had far-reaching repercussions, affecting individual creatives who lost employment and income, studios that saw drops in revenue and share prices, and the U.S. state of California—a prominent hub of creation and production—which lost $5 billion during the first few months of the strike period (Koblin, Sperling & Barnes, 2023). At the core of these union disputes lies the thorny question of whether Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI) will be used to displace creative workers. The union movement echoes calls, notably in the European Union, to regulate AI and address some of its major challenges, particularly those concerning Intellectual Property (IP) rights (Satariano, 2023). Questions about the need for regulation and IP protection in creative industries extend well beyond film and television. Authors are discovering that their books are being used to train large language models (LLMs) like those that power ChatGPT, and which are, in turn, increasingly capable of writing their own books based on those original inputs (Reisner, 2023). Musicians’ voices are being “deepfaked” and put in songs and collaborations that the musicians themselves never actually wrote or performed (Donahue, 2023). Artists’ work is being used to build algorithms that generate images, drawings, and other visual output (Chen, 2023).

GAI and Machine Learning (ML) offer the potential to generate substitutes for human-created content in all creative industries and may upend existing practices, current knowledge, and potential employment for creatives. Although we know quite a bit about how new technologies shape industries and work generally, creative industries have been immune because creativity is the one thing that technology traditionally has not been able to replace. For instance, prior technological disruptions still relied on humans to create content but engaged digital production to reduce costs and digital distribution to generate new rents, whether from streaming or television rights (Jones, 2001; Jones, Lorenzon & Sapsed, 2015). The dynamics of GAI are being paralleled by new types of digital creative products, such as blockchain-based Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) in visual arts, which are transforming what a creative product is in the art world. Similarly, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and the emergence of the metaverse offer new contexts in which creative endeavors can be deployed (see, for example, Chalmers, Fisch, Matthews, Quinn, & Recker, 2022).

These dynamics are ricocheting across creative industries and raising critical challenges, such as:

  1. How do emerging technologies like GAI potentially redefine who and what is creative, and will they reshape the experience of creative work and the identity of creative workers?
  2. How emerging technologies alter roles, relations, and structures in creative production and what are the implications for the value chain? How will technological change affect existing organizational forms and organizational identities, or potentially create new organizational forms or organizational identities?
  3. How do new technologies align with or violate existing copyright law, which underpin economic and business models for defining who has monetary rights from a creative product? What new business models will arise to capitalize on these technologies?
  4. How does the increase in content creation and distribution via digital means influence cities as sites of creative production, which arose to offer co-location and agglomeration benefits?
  5. What social movements are emerging from these digital disruptions and what is their impact on the dynamics of creative industries? How do social movements mobilize emerging digital technologies in creative industries to achieve their goals?

Current research has limited existing theory and knowledge that aids creatives, creative organizations, cities, and governments in addressing these challenges. Moreover, these challenges offer fruitful avenues for empirically exploring the dynamics of creative industries to generate new theories and frameworks to advance knowledge and practice. We call for submissions to explore these dynamics in creative industries and take full advantage of the mission of the Academy of Management Discoveries (AMD): to publish and promote exploratory research of management and organizational phenomena that are not adequately explained by existing theories or understood by existing research.

Before further developing illustrative research questions and themes for the special issue, we unpack the definitions of creative industries and approaches utilized by prior scholars and policymakers to empirically explore creative industries.

Definitions and Empirical Explorations of Creative Industries

Scholars have defined creative industries in different ways. Sociologists initially focused on industries that offered cultural products for audiences serving “esthetic or expressive rather than utilitarian purposes” (Hirsch, 1972: 642) and the roles, rules, and relations needed to bring these cultural goods and services to market (White & White, 1993; Peterson & Anand, 2004). Economists also identified creative industries as offering “cultural, artistic or entertainment value” (Caves, 2000: 1), while emphasizing the contracts between art and commerce that define who benefits from intellectual property and which key roles in the value chain not only identify creative products, such as gatekeepers, but also promote creative products to audiences, such as critics. When management scholars define creative industries, they usually focus on industries organized to generate and capture economic value from the expression of creativity and cultural values (Jones, Lorenzon & Sapsed, 2015; Jones & Maoret, 2018; Godart, Seong & Phillips, 2020).

Most management scholars who study creative industries take one of three paths. The first focuses on a specific industry and its capacity to reveal important theoretical insights, such as the influence of social structure on innovation in the Jazz world where isolation seems to promote innovation while connectedness prompts adherence to the prevailing canon (Phillips, 2011); musical artists enacting optimal distinctiveness by balancing novelty and familiarity to engage audiences and gain advantage (Askin & Mauskapf, 2017); and the embeddedness of fashion houses in personnel mobility networks predicting which collections are rated as most creative (Godart, Shipilov & Claes, 2014). The second path involves comparing industries, such as visual arts, music, dance, and fashion goods, to reveal more general insights, such as managing tensions or dilemmas that arise from competing goals, pursuing exploitation versus exploration, focusing on individual creativity or establishing creative systems, and constructing new markets or responding to existing markets (e.g., Lampel, Lant & Shamsie, 2000; DeFillippi, Grabher & Jones, 2008; Jones, Svejenova, Straandgard & Townley, 2016). The third path involves studying how work unfolds within creative industries to glean new insights about the way that creators and collaborates generate, elaborate, refine, store, discard, and implement novel and useful ideas (Harrison, Rouse, Fisher, & Amabile, 2022), and the social and psychological factors shaping those processes (Elsbach & Kramer, 2003). Key findings include: deep attachment to ideas and creative identity drive creative processes (Ananth & Harvey, 2023); collective creativity entails synthesizing novel perspectives (Long-Lingo & O’Mahoney; 2010; Harvey, 2014); and the success of novel ideas is difficult to forecast and is influenced by creators’ experience and role (Berg, 2016).

Policymakers have been more likely to take a phenomenon-driven approach to defining creative industries, focusing on capturing value from creative activities. This approach was first expressed in the 1990s by Australian and United Kingdom policymakers, who saw creative industries as the engines for economic growth. Their efforts culminated in the UK’s 1998 DCMS definition (revised 2001, 2013, 2014) which highlights creative industries as having “their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property.” Despite a broadly shared definition of creative industries, policymakers generated distinct lists of creative industries to further guide other interested parties (See Appendix A). To systematize and empirically anchor these diverse classifications of creative industries, Bahkshi, Freeman and Higgs (2013: 9) integrated creative industries with SOC and SIC codes, asking “where are creatively occupied workers actually employed?” They identified five elements that define creativity in occupations: (1) involves a novel process, (2) resists mechanization (e.g., mechanical process that can substitute for labor), (3) engages non-repetitive solutions and approaches to create the product, (4) offers creative contribution to the value chain, and (5) requires imagination rather than translation of the creative product across time and space. Using these five criteria to measure creative intensity—the proportion of a workforce in creative occupations—Bahkshi et al. found creative industries had substantially higher proportions of creative intensity, ranging from 30% to 90% of the occupations, whereas most industries had a creative intensity around 3%. They also noticed that creative industries tend to cluster geographically, such as advertising, film, and broadcasting in West London. These five elements and dynamic mapping approaches are useful for empirically defining creative industries to enable comparisons across creative industries and over time.

Although important and deserving of additional research, none of these definitional approaches have empirically addressed how emerging digital technologies, such as GAI or NFTs, might challenge existing practices in creative industries, creative work, and creative identities. The advent of emerging technologies, such as GAI and NFTs, has fundamentally altered some core assumptions and basic dynamics. For example, GAI raises questions about whether it generates novelty or is strictly imitative, whether it will be used to replace writers and other creatives, whether it will disrupt the established business models and value chain, and how it may reshape where creative activities take place. A key question is the pace of innovation and how challenges may be resolved, or new challenges created. The future of creative occupations, in a world where GAI plays a key role, is yet to be determined.

In parallel, these emerging technologies represent an opportunity, as well. For example, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) have created new types of artists and art, such as Beeple—a digital artist that sells NFTs rather than physical artwork. In addition, NFTs use blockchain technologies that enable artists to establish provenance by defining and tracing ownership, potentially enabling artists to claim a portion of the increases in the value of art over time. In that sense, NFTs may mitigate some of the IP-related risks from GAI. Thus, more scholarly attention and empirical research is needed to understand these new and rapidly evolving dynamics to develop frameworks for guiding practice and theories for enhancing knowledge about how to face and manage fast paced change that fundamentally alter the playing field. 

Illustrative Themes and Questions for the Creative Industries Special Issue

Given current challenges within the creative industries that raise fundamental questions and challenge existing theories, as well as the mission of Academy of Management Discoveries to engage in exploratory research, we invite papers to explore these challenges in-depth. We welcome manuscripts that utilize and engage in dialogue across disciplines, such as sociology, economics, history, strategy, organization theory, urban studies, policy, psychology, law, and others. Below we offer illustrative questions to provide generative insights for studying creative industries, acknowledging that there are other queries and lines of engagement that also address current challenges in the creative industries. Submissions need not be limited to our illustrative questions.

  1. Creativity and creative processes. The use of GAI and other emerging technologies (e.g., NFTs, VR, AR, metaverse) is triggering a re-evaluation of what is creative, who is creative, and the processes of creative work. As seen above, creatives—whether individual or collective, such as writers, actors, musicians, visual artists, or design teams—express deep reservations about the use of such technologies and question how human-computer interactions may fundamentally alter creative processes and challenge perceptions of authenticity. For example, a visual artist winning a competition by using GAI to generate part of a painting prompted significant arguments over whether the use of GAI should disqualify artists as being creative (Harwell, 2022). A particularly contentious issue is that GAI uses algorithms derived from others’ prior creative work, often without their permission, to generate the solution. This raises deep questions about the role of authenticity in creativity and judgments of creative products that challenge our understanding of the very concept of creativity. Whereas it may be valuable to judge new product designs or organizational process improvements in terms of novelty and usefulness alone, such evaluation criteria may miss critical elements of what creativity is within the creative industries in ways that become apparent when humans are distanced from the process. It also raises questions about ownership in creative industries. Whereas new ideas developed in collaboration with GAI in more traditional industries may be owned by and credited to the organization and its members, in creative industries, ideas need to be protected and credited. Phenomenon-driven research may help to address these fundamental questions about creativity.

    Despite the extensive research on creativity by scholars from diverse disciplines, scholars have neither thoroughly nor empirically examined the ways in which creativity may be reshaped, if at all, by GAI and other generative technologies (Amabile, 2020). For example, psychologists examine how human generated novelty and usefulness drive judgements about creativity (Amabile, 1988) and how the interplay between novelty and usefulness generates different creative processes (Harvey & Berry, 2022), but what has yet to be critically explored is whether novelty can be produced by a machine or algorithm entirely on its own and how might creators interact with GAI in that process? Exploring this within the creative industries is critical for answering this question, because it is with artists, writers, actors, designers and others in those industries that the most human forms of novelty are likely to be found.

    Creatives themselves are crafting arguments around why they cannot or should not be replaced. Artists, such as musician Nick Cave, reject the idea that GAI can be creative because “algorithms don’t feel. Data doesn’t suffer. ChatPGT has no inner being…it is destined to imitate and can never have an authentic human experience” ( Along similar lines, some creatives focus on the artist-audience relationship, asserting that GAI cannot emulate key elements that shape how viable and believable a creative product is, which depends on “being embodied in the world and interacting with other people” (Kelley, 2023; see also, Askin & Mol, 2018). Other creatives highlight the critical emotional attachment between artists and audiences, which AI cannot fabricate (Scheiber & Koblin, 2023). Will the use of GAI replace a human role, such as fashion designer or creative director, or aid creative designers in augmenting their creative capacity, perhaps by providing an instantaneous history of clothes and designs? This lack of knowledge raises generative questions to explore.
  • Who and what is creative? Is human embodiment, experience, and imagination central to being creative and defining creative industries? In what ways does a computer emulate, aid or displace human creativity when devising new cultural products? How can a machine know what cultural products express humanity?
  • What happens to creative processes, which demand interaction and emotional engagement in performances, when GAI becomes a substitute for creative input? Does GAI amplify, alter, or eviscerate creative processes?
  • Is GAI a tool to express creativity or is it a substitute for creativity when devising new cultural products? For which creatives has GAI been a benefit, helping to improve efficacy and creativity and for whom is it a bane, exploiting or replacing creative talent? How will creators interact with AI and how will that shape the creative process for producing new cultural products?
  • How will working with AI influence psychological process like autonomy, flexibility, and identity, which are central to the experience of work in the creative industries? Can cultural producers identify with works they did not generate? Can creators experience autonomy over creative processes that require collaborating with GAI? How can creators develop and communicate a signature style or creative identity when working with GAI?
  1. Roles, relations and structures in creative production. Creative industries require roles, relations and structures, whether critics, appraisers, talent agents, lawyers, or financiers, who enact the value chain in creative production. Emerging technologies are being used in ways that have the potential to disrupt or make obsolete some roles in creative industries, such as GAI helping to discern the provenance of art, potentially displacing professionals and art historians (Avi-Yonah, 2023). Scholars have identified how social structures engender creativity, such as bridging distinct groups (Burt, 2004), or positions in social structures shaping judgements about who and what is creative (Godart, Shipilov, & Claes, 2014)? Existing research also has highlighted organizational innovation in creative industries. For example, long before the gig economy of technology platforms, creative industries engaged in project networks and network forms of governance in film, music, and fashion from the 1950s onward (Faulkner, 1989; Jones, Hesterly & Borgatti, 1997; Uzzi, 1997). Scholars also have revealed that the relational shift from the dyad of government-artist to the triad of artist-broker-audience was central to the rise of Impressionism as a new art form and art market (White &White, 1993). Thus, roles and relations are key to enacting creative industries. Do artists’ NFTs reduce or depend on the relation with broker roles, such as auction houses? Does the recent sale of Beeple’s NFTs by Christie’s at record breaking $69 million (Spielberger, 2022) demonstrate that roles and relations are central building blocks of creative industries and not easily dislodged? It remains unclear whether and how new technologies, such as GAI or NFTs, may alter roles and relations that underpin and enact a creative industry. Thus, we have fundamental gaps in our knowledge that exploratory empirical research can begin to answer.
  • How do audiences, whether critics or consumers, judge and value cultural products generated by GAI versus human produced? Can audiences or experts distinguish between computer and human generated cultural products? In what ways do human and algorithmic or computer interactions influence or reshape creative processes and products?
  • If creativity or discerning provenance of cultural products can be enacted by GAI or other digital technologies, how does this affect human social structures and social roles in creative industries?
  • What roles in creative industries are likely to be displaced by GAI and how does this reshape the value chain? Can GAI replace key social roles such as brokers that have been central to constructing new creative markets?
  • How has GAI reshaped the social organization of a creative industry and in what ways has it altered how innovation unfolds within and between creative industries?
  • How will this technological change affect existing organizational forms and organizational identities, or potentially create new organizational forms or organizational identities?
  1. Copyright law and business models. AI has disrupted who owns and benefits from a copyright. For example, artists are suing technology companies offering AI generated artwork, which they claim utilizes their existing work without permission and violates their copyrights (Avi-Yonah, 2023). Companies may use GAI on their backlog of creative materials to substitute for creators’ skills, enabling chatbots to write and rewrite in an author’s voice or create visual “deepfakes” of an actors’ performances without their input (Scheiber & Koblin, 2023). Technology companies, like Meta and OpenAI, engaged in piracy of novels to train their GAI systems. Alex Reisner (2023), a writer, computer programmer and technical consultant, “obtained and analyzed a dataset used by Meta to train LLaMA” that includes the pirated copies of “170,000 books, the majority published in the past 20 years.” Technology companies, and novelists and their publishing companies are in disputes over the appropriate boundaries and tenants of copyright law—what is fair use versus protected by copyright—and reflects the different industry cultures of arts versus technology (Reisner, 2023). The U.S. copyright office is currently undergoing review of GAI and copyright (see Federal Register August 30, 2023) and has restated its baseline to secure copyright protection such that the work must be human authored. This means that GAI-generated work likely will not qualify for copyright, dampening the ability of those using GAI to monetize cultural products made with GAI (Reisner, 2023). In addition, NFT artwork not only expresses art digitally but also is a means for artists to track ownership and gain monetary value from their artwork appreciating, rather than solely from sales of their work along with collectors and auctioneers. Relatedly, the growing use of creative products in the metaverse offers new avenues for artists to connect with broader audiences (for example, fashion houses have developed digital collections in gaming platforms like Roblox or Fortnite).
  • With GAI and digital artwork, who captures value from and has control over creative products? How does GAI challenge current intellectual properties law? How are business models shifting and adapting to GAI?
  • How do the different orientations toward IP—fair use versus proprietary—between technology and creative organizations play out as they pursue innovation, efficiencies, and new markets?
  1. Sites of Creative Production: Cities and Spatial Co-location. Economic geographers seek to understand what leads creatives to cluster geographically, as well as the effect this has on industries and practices (e.g., Grabher, 2018), such as film around Los Angeles, film and television production around London, theater in New York City and London, Country music centered in Nashville, and fashion in Milan, Paris, London, and New York (see Aspers and Godart, 2013). The increasing shift of cultural production to digital and AI creation means a likely increase in the use of airwaves rather than geographic co-location for collaboration and inspiration. What will be the effect on cities and nations?
  • How does the increasing content creation through AI and digitization of cultural products affect the co-location of creatives in cities that serve as sites for creative production?
  • Similar to the development of the internet which enabled collaboration across space, will the metaverse displace the notion of clustering and the relevance of geography for production?
  • What will be the impact of emerging technologies on existing creative networks, within organizations and across them?
  1. Social Movements and Creative Industries. Social movements are major drivers of social change and can be conceptualized as a type of disruptor, along with other disruptors such as new technologies (for example GAI), regulations (IP rights), or business models (new value chain) (see Godart & Pistilli 2023). In the evolution of creative industries more specifically, the role played by social movements is well-established. They can, for example, target organizations and attempt to change practices using all kinds of tactics, as in the anti-fur movement that has managed to convince major fashion houses to drop fur (Godart, Hsu, & Negro, 2022). In addition, as illustrated in our introduction, social movements may interact with other disruptions to influence the evolution of creative industries. In the case of the 2023 Hollywood strike, writers and other professionals were concerned that studios would use GAI to displace them (for example, studios would use GAI to generate scripts and human intervention would happen downstream, to edit GAI-generated input). In that case, a new technology (GAI) triggered a social movement that ultimately led to a reorganization of the dominant business model of the US movie industry which is largely seen as a victory for writers (Anguiano and Beckett, 2023). In the creative industries, GAI and other emerging technologies are likely to trigger many other social movements (and the Hollywood strike can be seen as a blueprint for possible other movements). Similarly, technology also can be used to empower social movements. NFTs and blockchain technologies, for example, have been portrayed as a way to disintermediate creative industries and empower producers (Chalmers et al., 2022), as seen in music and the arts. How will emerging digital technologies such as GAI trigger and shape social movements in the creative industries?
  • What kind of social movements are emerging in creative industries in response to emerging digital technologies such as GAI? How can these emerging social movements influence the evolution of creative industries?
  • How have older movements in the creative industries adapted to the emergence of emerging digital technologies such as GAI?
  • How will stakeholders in the creative industries react to these emerging social movements?
  • What strategies are being used and will be used in the future by social movements related to AI and related technologies in creative industries?

We are excited about this special issue and the possibility of exploring the challenges facing creative industries. As empirical sites, creative industries offer empirically rich phenomena for discovering unexpected insights, developing new frameworks, and challenging existing organizational and managerial theories. We expect contributions to the special issue to enact the mission of AMD: to publish empirical work that addresses unique, puzzling, and intriguing phenomena that are not well explained by existing theories.

We seek to generate dialogue and build cross fertilization that reveals new insights into creative industries. Because creative industries as phenomena engage multiple disciplines, we will prioritize submissions that use a multi-disciplinary approach, using them to offer new insights. In line with a multi-disciplinary approach, we are open to a wide range of approaches and methods that utilize robust evidence to support claims and insights.

Members of the guest editing team and AMD editors will organize a Creative Industries Conference and Workshop for potential authors and reviewers of this special issue at the University of Edinburgh Business School, 12-14 June 2024.  The guest editors and other AMD editors will engage with authors who submit their paper to the creative industries conference. To submit to conference and workshop, please send a no-more-than-1000 word summary of your empirical paper that identifies the creative industries being studied and briefly describes the puzzling or intriguing phenomena or challenges to existing theories that your study addresses. Send the material to by 28 February 2024. The conference will be limited in size for logistical reasons. Attendance at the Creative Industries Conference and Workshop is not mandatory for submitting to the special issue.

Submissions are due between 1 September and 30 September 2024. To submit a manuscript, please visit Remember to select Manuscript Type as Special Research Forum: Creative Industries. Manuscripts should be formatted according to the AMD Style Guide.


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Creative Industries in the UK, Scotland, and European Union

U.K. DCMS 2001Scottish Govt 2010European Union
Advertising Advertising  
Architecture  Architecture Architecture
  Audio visual
Art & Antiques Market  Visual Art  
Crafts Crafts  
 Cultural education  
Design Design  
Designer Fashion Fashion and Textiles  
Film & Video Film and Video  
 Heritage Cultural heritage on separate list
Interactive Leisure Software Computer Games  
Music Music Music
Performing Arts  Performing Arts Performing Arts
Publishing Writing and Publishing Books and Publishing
Software & Computer Services Software/electronic Publishing  
Television & Radio Radio and TV