Next week I was supposed to have presented a paper at the Nordic Academy of Management conference. Unfortunately I will not have the possibility to attend and present the paper, or interact with my fellow colleagues at this conference. But, the article is avalible at academia (as most of my other texts) for those of you interested in reading it.

The article is an exploration of the research project that Ulf Sandqvist and I have embarked upon ,studying leadership in the video game industry. This industry seem to be wedged between technical possibilities, artistic dreams and financial demands. Not that very far from other cultural industries today.

The development of video games has grown from a playful activity at universities, and military research, in the early 1950s to a professional and profitable industry. Today, the video games industry is one of the major cultural industries with a turnover from sale in the video game industry exceeding that of box office revenues in the film industry. Despite this size is this industry, apart from a few publications (Cadin et al. 2006, Cadin and Guérin 2006, Kerr 2006, Readman and Grantham 2006, Tschang and Szczypula 2006, Walfisz 2006, Zackariasson et al. 2006a, Zackariasson et al 2006b), much ignored in academic research this far. This is about to change, not least in Sweden where theses about video games industry arouses a growing interest (Dymek 2010, Sandqvist 2007, 2010; Zackariasson 2003, 2007).

In this paper we aim to contribute to the discussion about leadership in the borderline between artistic freedom, technical limitations and financial pressure. Today, this is very much where the video game industry is situated. Leadership in cultural organizations, such as video games developer, has a significant role to capture the creativity and channel it towards innovations in production, video games, in this case. Guillet de Monthoux et al. (2007) argues that there is a certain fuzzyness in this type of organization, which places special demands on the leadership to encourage this flow and steer them towards a common goal. This argument is supported by Byrne et al. (2009) who suggests that leadership has an impact on an innovative process in which creative people can express their knowledge. Compared with the assumptions of the individual creative person and its driving force. The reason for the leadership and creativity in computer game development is a very good case to study is that this industry represents the output of today’s cultural and technological society. Video game industry is also an industry which is heavily dependent on -the creativity and artistic creation (Tschang 2007, Zackariasson et al 2006), video games, like other cultural products, designed to stimulate our senses and arouse emotions. The process in which the game develops commute thus between artistic creativity and technical craft.

The reason for writing this text at this time is to put forth a number of thoughts for a research project on leadership in the Swedish video game industry that has just been initiated. For this project we are using both qualitative and quantitative data in order to create knowledge about leadership in this industry. The results of the project will be published in 2014.