Living with enterprise in an enterprise economy: freelance and contract workers in the media

Storey, John; Salaman, Graeme and Platman, Kerry (2005). Living with enterprise in an enterprise economy: freelance and contract workers in the media. Human Relations, 58(8) pp. 1033–1054.



Changes in organizational structures, logics and employment practices in the media industries – critically the outsourcing of labour, whereby employees become freelance workers – supply an ideal context in which to explore the extent to which, and the ways in which, ideological and structural pressures encourage workers to accept the logic and imperatives of enterprise. An important and influential body of literature identifies the ‘enterprising self ’ as a central paradigmatic concept underpinning the rationale of new, alternative, work forms and relationships. And enterprising forms or logics of organization, or of organizational employment practices and relationships are closely associated with management pressures on workers (contract freelance workers or permanent employees) to accept enterprise as a major element of their self-identities.This study of media workers contributes to the debate about the ‘enterprising self ’. Many writers have noted that workers in the enterprise economy are exposed to systemic efforts to see themselves in terms of enterprise. But relatively little work has explored how workers respond to these efforts.The findings of this study reveal the various ways in which freelance workers make sense of enterprise and how they understand themselves, and their employment experiences in terms of enterprise.

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