University of Twente Student Theses


The influence of external labor on creative capital: an explorative study

Joosten, M. (2013) The influence of external labor on creative capital: an explorative study.

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Abstract:Purpose – Creative capital has been a popular topic in the urban and economic literature since it was introduced by Florida (2002). Research on creative capital has been focused on the urban level, where creative capital is considered a key predictor of economic growth of urban cities and regions. Scholars tried to translate this concept to an organizational level. However, this research stream is still limited and mostly based on conceptual papers. This research stream also proposed that Human Resource Management impacts the firm-level creative capital(Straatman, Veenendaal, and van Velzen, 2012) . This thesis is therefore aimed at extending existing literature by exploring creative capital at an organizational level as well as its relationship to Human Resource Management with a special focus on the role and use of external labor. Design / methodology / approach – A qualitative multiple comparative case study based on a explorative research approach was employed. Semi-structured interviews with managers at eight organizations within the design, engineering and manufacturing industry in the Twente region in the Netherlands were conducted. Previous to the interviews, these organizations were categorized into low- and high creative capital organizations in order to ensure that both low and high creative capital organizations constituted the sample to allow for exploration of differences between these quotas. The interviews were fully transcribed and analyzed by using open coding. Before cross comparing between the cases, the case organizations were first separately analyzed in order to describe the role and use of external labor and assess if the assumed level of creative capital coincided with the actual creative capital findings of the interviews. This then allowed for the exploration of differences in the use external labor between high and low creative capital organizations. Findings – Creative capital exists at the organizational level and therefore has a right for existence. Differences exist between the use and role of external labor for low firm-level creative capital and high firmlevel creative capital organizations. While low creative capital organizations mostly use external labor in form of temporary employees for non-core functions for capacity and flexibility reasons, high creative capital organizations also make use of external employees in form of contract and project-based employees as well as consultants and specialists for core activities in order to enhance the diversity of KSAOs and in turn the creative capital of the organization. Additionally, we found support that the use of labor market intermediaries for external labor differs between low creative capital organizations and high creative capital organizations. While low creative capital organizations mostly use labor market intermediaries that are primarily focused on providing information about external employees, high creative capital organizations used specialized labor market intermediaries that resulted in a better match between the organization and the external employee in order to stimulate the creative capital of the organization. Additionally, the dynamism of the market seemed to influence the importance of external labor for creative capital of organizations as the findings indicate that external labor has a stronger effect on creative capital for companies operating in dynamic environments than for companies operating in stable environments. Limitations / further research – The findings cannot be generalized as an explorative case study based on purposive sampling was conducted. Thus, future research should aim at developing a study design that allows generalizing the findings to a larger population. This should include a larger sample size as well as a more detailed research scope by focusing on certain departments within an organization. Additionally, research should also further investigate the role of consultants for firm-level creative capital and the possible moderating effect of the dynamism of the market environment. Originality / value – The study is of high originality and value to existing theory as no research exists aimed at exploring the relationship between external labor and firm-level creative capital.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
Keywords:Creative capital, Firm-level creative capital, External labor, Innovation
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