Compete or cooperate in the creative industries? A quasi-experimental study with Dutch cultural and creative entrepreneurs

Ellen Loots, Boukje Cnossen, Arjen van Witteloostuijn

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This exploratory study examines the relationship between cultural and creative entrepreneurs’ self-perceived creative and entrepreneurial competencies and their competitive and cooperative behaviour. The authors developed tailor-made survey scales and conducted a Prisoner’s Dilemma experiment with 45 cultural and creative entrepreneurs in the Netherlands. They found that both self-perceived absolute and relative creativity were associated with cooperation, yet in the reverse directions - that is, one’s self-perceived creative competencies positively related to cooperation, while self-perceived creative skills relative to other people’s creativity negatively affected cooperative behaviour. The former may suggest a sense of self-confidence that leads to a propensity to seek collaboration, while the latter may indicate a sense of superiority that eradicates any need or inclination to cooperate; self-perceived entrepreneurial competencies do not matter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-31
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Arts Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


We would like to acknowledge the valuable feedback and assistance of the guest editors and anonymous reviewers of this IJAM special issue on Cultural Entrepreneurship. We are grateful for the feedback we received from participants in the EURAM 2016 conference, the 32nd EGOS Colloquium and the ninth mid-term conference of the Research Network Sociology of the Arts. Finally, we are grateful to the people who took part in our survey and experiment.

FundersFunder number
European Association of National Metrology Institutes


    • Competition
    • Cooperation
    • Creativity
    • Entrepreneurship
    • PD game


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