Career management: a study of the Chinese film production industry

Xu, Wei Wei (2012) Career management: a study of the Chinese film production industry. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


This thesis presents the results of a multi-method investigation into how individuals in the film production industry manage their careers using China as a case study. Three rich hypotheses were tested against 14 in-depth interviews with inner-core decision makers and a survey questionnaire to which 119 actors and crew responded. The qualitative analysis confirmed that: (i) social networks provide vital functions for finding jobs in the film industry; (ii) personal reputation is vital for a long-term career in the film industry; and (iii) professional talent is socially determined. The findings present an alternative approach to project-based career theory. Social networks convey information on reputation and talent to facilitate the matching of people to jobs and may substitute for labour market institutions such as casting. The thesis proposes an individual career management model which links the key factors of: academic/training, professional talent, teamwork, social networks, reputation, film project, box office, career longevity, job security, self-development and career satisfaction. The model may be applicable to other countries and also to project-based creative industries.

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