Managing tensions in creative content development work : Cases from the media industry

Abstract: This dissertation explores organisational tensions and their management in creative content development work in the context of creative industries, particularly media. The study focuses on the dynamic relationship and complexities between current business (exploitation) and future business (exploration), where tensions become managerial issues. It builds on dualities as the overarching analytical concept. The combination of theorisations on ambidexterity, value networks and hybrid organisations is used to examine organisational tensions as dynamic interrelationships between the elements of dualities.This compilation dissertation builds on three qualitative case studies, which are investigated in six individual, empirical papers. The case organisations include a company from both public and private media, as well as a collaborative arrangement in a creative industry cluster. The longitudinal empirical data comprises diary writings, interviews, documentation and participant observations.The study extends the understanding about how and why organisational tensions pose a demanding managerial challenge to established companies. It suggests that these tensions cannot be solved as such; instead, they need to be managed “with” rather than “against”. The study contributes to previous literature by combining theoretical perspectives to create links between existing approaches on ambidexterity. Regarding clusters, the study offers new knowledge by shifting the focus from mere spatial co-location to shared value creation through collaborative relationships.As implications for practice, the study suggests that managerial effort is required to anticipate, identify, evaluate, and navigate tensions in creative work. The results emphasise the key importance of embracing interrelated, coexisting, enduring, and complex tensions as a multifaceted package.