Enacting creative calling when established career structures are not in place: The case of the Dutch video game industry

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Abstract

Despite the long tradition of studies on calling conducted in established professional and occupational groups, little is known about what it means to enact one's calling in the context of less-established professions, absent career structures and temporary organizational settings. However, with the changing nature of work, this knowledge is highly needed to support independent workers. This paper presents a study of twenty-four founders of (video)game development companies in the Dutch video game industry who enact their calling in the context of poorly established career structures and scarce resources. Our findings reveal that the way the game company founders describe the meanings they attach to their work and to video game development suggests the presence of a creative calling, which focuses on the creative process rather than on a specific occupation or profession. The founders engage in emergent entrepreneurship and bond with like-minded people to create space that allows them to enact their creative calling in the video game industry. In doing so, they anchor their creative calling enactment in either an idealized or a crafted work identity. In turn, the choice of work identity anchor shapes how successful they are in sustaining this creative calling enactment in the video game industry. Our findings shed new light on the concept of calling and its enactment in the context of less-established career structures and scarce resources; they further provide practical implications for individuals who pursue their calling in contemporary work contexts and for career counselors.

LanguageEnglish
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2019

Fingerprint

Video Games
computer game
Industry
career
industry
Entrepreneurship
profession
Occupational Groups
occupational group
counselor
Occupations
entrepreneurship
resources
occupation
Video game industry
Calling
worker
Enactment
Resources
Video games

Keywords

  • Calling
  • Career development
  • Career improvisation
  • Creative process
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Video game development
  • Work identity

Cite this

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abstract = "Despite the long tradition of studies on calling conducted in established professional and occupational groups, little is known about what it means to enact one's calling in the context of less-established professions, absent career structures and temporary organizational settings. However, with the changing nature of work, this knowledge is highly needed to support independent workers. This paper presents a study of twenty-four founders of (video)game development companies in the Dutch video game industry who enact their calling in the context of poorly established career structures and scarce resources. Our findings reveal that the way the game company founders describe the meanings they attach to their work and to video game development suggests the presence of a creative calling, which focuses on the creative process rather than on a specific occupation or profession. The founders engage in emergent entrepreneurship and bond with like-minded people to create space that allows them to enact their creative calling in the video game industry. In doing so, they anchor their creative calling enactment in either an idealized or a crafted work identity. In turn, the choice of work identity anchor shapes how successful they are in sustaining this creative calling enactment in the video game industry. Our findings shed new light on the concept of calling and its enactment in the context of less-established career structures and scarce resources; they further provide practical implications for individuals who pursue their calling in contemporary work contexts and for career counselors.",
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