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The ties that bind us: networks, projects and careers in British TV

Morris, Jonathan ORCID:, Mckinlay, Alan and Farrell, Catherine ORCID: 2023. The ties that bind us: networks, projects and careers in British TV. Human Relations 76 (2) , pp. 341-361. 10.1177/00187267211062863

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The dominant view of careers is that they have been transformed by the emergence of ‘post-bureaucratic’ organizations. ‘Neo-bureaucratic’ structures have emerged, retaining centralized control over strategy and finance while outsourcing production, creating employment precarity. British television epitomises a sector that has experienced long-run deregulation. Producing television content is risky highly competitive. How do broadcasters minimise the risks of television production? Broadcasting neo-bureaucracies avoid relying on fragmented labour markets to hire technically self-disciplining crews. Control regimes are enacted through activating social networks by broadcast commissioners, green-lit to trusted creative teams who recruit key crew, through social networks which complement diffuse forms of normative control. Social networks and the self-discipline of crews are mutually constitutive, (re)producing patterns of labour market advantage/disadvantage. Younger freelancers prove vulnerable, exposed to precariousness inherent in freelance employment; to build a career they must access and sustain their social network membership. We locate individual decisions around career narratives in the context of specific social networks and industry structures. Careers are not boundaryless, individual constructs. We introduce the concept of ‘mosaic-career’, capturing the complexity of individual work histories, composed of fragmented employment in organisations/projects. How do neo-bureaucracies, then, intervene in labour markets? What are the consequences of those interventions?

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 0018-7267
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 19 November 2021
Date of Acceptance: 20 October 2021
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2023 16:57

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