The content and role of intrinsic motivation in creative work: the importance of seeking “enjoyment”

    Chairin An Affiliation


The present paper assesses the “content” and “role” of intrinsic motivation during the creative production process. Based on semi-structured interviews with 16 light-entertainment television producers-directors in South Korea, it was observed that intrinsic motivation towards creative work included a desire to maintain enjoyment from such activities. Enjoyment was classified into two types: enjoyment based on job expectations and enjoyment based on the actualization of individual creative ambitions. Additionally, intrinsic motivation tended to provide a strong buffer against unfavourable working conditions that resulted from market principles (viewership ratings), economic stability, and work-life balance. Overall, the present results suggest that creative workers’ tendencies to endure various undesirable working conditions are based on a strong intrinsic motivation to maintain enjoyment from their career.

Article in English.

Vidinės motyvacijos kūrybiniame darbe turinys ir vaidmuo: „pasitenkinimo“ paieškų svarba


Šiame straipsnyje įvertinamas vidinės motyvacijos „turinys“ ir „vaidmuo“ gaminant kūrybinę produkciją. Remiantis pusiau struktūruotais interviu su 16 lengvo turinio pramogines laidas transliuojančios Pietų Korėjos televizijos prodiuseriais ir režisieriais, buvo nustatyta, kad vidinė kūrybinio darbo motyvacija – tai troškimas nuolat išlaikyti tokios veiklos teikiamą pasitenkinimą. Pasitenkinimas buvo suklasifikuotas į du tipus: pasitenkinimas, grindžiamas darbo lūkesčiais, ir pasitenkinimas, paremtas individualių kūrybos ambicijų realizavimu. Be to, dėl vidinės motyvacijos esama tendencijos gerokai pozityviau vertinti nepalankias darbo sąlygas, susiklosčiusias vyraujant rinkos principams (žiūrovų reitingai), ekonominiam stabilumui bei profesinio ir asmeninio gyvenimo pusiausvyrai. Apskritai šie rezultatai rodo, kad kūrybinių darbuotojų tendencijas ištverti įvairias netinkamas darbo sąlygas grindžia stipri vidinė motyvacija nuolat išlaikyti pasitenkinimą, kurį jiems teikia karjera.

Reikšminiai žodžiai: kūrybinis darbas, kūrybinė produkcija, pasitenkinimas, vidinė motyvacija, procesas, prodiuseris ir režisierius.

Keyword : creative labour, creative production, enjoyment, intrinsic motivation, process, producer-director

How to Cite
An, C. (2019). The content and role of intrinsic motivation in creative work: the importance of seeking “enjoyment”. Creativity Studies, 12(2), 280-290.
Published in Issue
Sep 30, 2019
Abstract Views
PDF Downloads
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Alvesson, M., Lee Ashcraft, K., & Thomas, R. (2008). Identity matters: reflections on the construction of identity scholarship in organization studies. Organization, 15(1), 5-28.

Amabile, T. M. (1996). Creativity in context: update to the social psychology of creativity. New York: Routledge.

Amabile, T. M. (1998). How to kill creativity. Harvard Business Review, 76(5), 77-87.

Amabile, T., & Kramer, S. (2011). The progress principle: using small wins to ignite joy, engagement, and creativity at work. Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business Review Press.

An, Ch. (2016). The multiple identities of creative labourers and negotiated creative autonomy: an empirical research with light-entertainment television PDs in South Korea (PhD Thesis). University of Warwick, Coventry, England [unpublished source].

Arvidsson, A., Malossi, G., & Naro, S. (2010). Passionate work? Labour conditions in the Milan fashion industry. Journal for Cultural Research, 14(3), 295-309.

Banks, M. (Ed.). (2007). The politics of cultural work. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Bilton, C., & Cummings, S. (2010). Creative strategy: reconnecting business and innovation. West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Bilton, Ch., & Leary, R. (2002). What can managers do for creativity? Brokering creativity in the creative industries. International Journal of Cultural Policy, 8(1), 49-64.

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101.

Christopherson, S. (2008). Beyond the self-expressive creative worker: an industry perspective on entertainment media. Theory, Culture & Society, 25(7-8), 73-95.

Cnossen, B., Loots, E., & Witteloostuijn, van A. (Forthcoming). Individual motivation among entrepreneurs in the creative and cultural industries: a self‐determination perspective. Creativity and Innovation Management, 28(3), 389-4-2.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. In Aronson, E. (Ed.). Series: Perspectives in Social Psychology. New York and London: Plenum Press.

Elsbach, K. D. (2009). Identity affirmation through “signature style”: A study of toy car designers. Human Relations, 62(7), 1041-1072.

Florida, R. (2012). The rise of the creative class (Revisited). New York: Basic Books.

Gill, R. (2002). Cool, creative and egalitarian? Exploring gender in project-based new media work in Euro. Information, Communication & Society, 5(1), 70-89.

Gill, R., & Pratt, A. C. (2008). In the social factory? Immaterial labour, precariousness and cultural work. Theory, Culture & Society, 25(7-8), 1-30.

Hesmondhalgh, D., & Baker, S. (2011). Creative labour: media work in three cultural industries. Series: Culture, Economy and the Social. London and New York: Routledge.

Knights, D., & McCabe, D. (2003). Governing through teamwork: reconstituting subjectivity in a call centre. Journal of Management Studies, 40(7), 1587-1619.

Lee, D. (2012). Precarious creativity: changing attitudes towards craft and creativity in the british independent television production sector. Creative Industries Journal, 4(2), 155-170.

Malmelin, N., & Virta, S. (2016). Managing creativity in change. Journalism Practice, 10(8), 1041-1054.

McRobbie, A. (2016). Be creative. Cambridge, Malden, MA: Polity Press.

McRobbie, A. (2002). Clubs to companies: notes on the decline of political culture in speeded up creative worlds. Cultural Studies, 16(4), 516-531.

Nixon, S. (2003). Advertising cultures: gender, commerce, creativity. Series: Culture, Representation and Identities. London: SAGE Publications.

Pratt, M. G., Rockmann, K. W., & Kaufmann, J. B. (2006). Constructing professional identity: the role of work and identity learning cycles in the customization of identity among medical residents. The Academy of Management Journal, 49(2), 235-262.

Prichard, C. (2002). Creative selves? Critically reading “creativity” in management discourse. Creativity and Innovation Management, 11(4), 265-276.

Ross, A. (2003). No-Collar: the humane workplace and its hidden costs. New York: Basic Books.

Rosso, B. D. (2014). Creativity and constraints: exploring the role of constraints in the creative processes of research and development teams. Organization Studies, 35(4), 551-585.

Sawyer, R. K. (2012). Explaining creativity: the science of human innovation. Oxford: Oxford: New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.

Stahl, M. (2005). Nonproprietary authorship and the uses of autonomy: artistic labor in American film animation, 1900-2004. Labor: Studies in Working-Class History, 2(4), 87-105.

Storr, A. (1972). The dynamics of creation. New York: Ballantine Books.

Ursell, G. (2006). Working in the media. In D. Hesmondhalgh (Ed.), Media production, 3, 134-171. Berkshire: Open University Press.

Wei, J. (2012). Dealing with reality: market demands, artistic integrity, and identity work in reality television production. Poetics, 40(5), 444-466.