Networks and social capital in the UK television industry: The weakness of weak ties

Antcliff, Valerie, Saundry, Richard orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7813-2148 and Stuart, Mark (2007) Networks and social capital in the UK television industry: The weakness of weak ties. Human Relations, 60 (2). pp. 371-393. ISSN 0018-7267

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Accounts of the shift to post-industrial modes of employment have tended to present an over-simplified view of networks as an assemblage of contacts used to gain individual advantage in the labour market. Creative industries represent a challenge to this as typically they rely on networks to foster collaboration, trust and co-operation. In this article we explore how a variety of networks are used to promote both individual competition and co-operation in an industry where re-regulation has resulted in the break up of bureaucratic organizations and widespread casualization of the labour market. We argue that there is a need to extend the debate on the role of networks in a casualized labour market to examine how individuals organize themselves via the plethora of networks that result from organizational break up.We use qualitative data from a series of interviews with freelance television production workers in the United Kingdom to suggest that workers use networks as a source of competitive advantage and, at the same time, support and co-operation. Overall our research suggests that network activity is more complex, and networks themselves more dynamic, than existing research and theory implies.

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