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Backstage: Organizing Events as Proto-Institutional Work in the Popular Music Industry

Abstract

We study how event organizers with an eye towards shaping the evolution of organizational fields enact a situation of disruption in Germany’s popular music industry. We find that the organizers of three new industry event series experimented with alternative event formats, modeled alternative value chains, and embedded events regionally to stage alternative possibilities for the field’s future. Thus, they provided temporary, yet recurring arenas for testing out new field boundaries and practices. We argue that organizing and situating events in a field’s wider event landscape is a form of cyclical proto-institutional work that gives direct impulses for field reconfiguration.

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Correspondence to Elke Schüßler.

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Previous versions of this paper were presented at the 2010 EGOS sub-theme on “Creative Industries: Paradoxes and tensions between local formats and global standards”, at the 2013 Workshop on Organization Studies of the German Association for Business Research, and at an internal research seminar at Freie Universität Berlin. We are grateful for the many insightful comments we received there. We are particularly indebted for their detailed comments on previous versions to Antti Ainamo, Johanna Mair, Guido Möllering, Charles-Clemens Rüling, André Spicer, Jörg Sydow, and Rick Vogel.

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Schüßler, E., Dobusch, L. & Wessel, L. Backstage: Organizing Events as Proto-Institutional Work in the Popular Music Industry. Schmalenbach Bus Rev 66, 415–437 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03396913

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JEL Classification

  • M00
  • M10
  • M130

Keywords

  • Creative Industries
  • Field-Configuring Events
  • Institutional Work
  • Music Industry
  • Proto-Institutions