Coopetition in Projects in Cultural Industries

Julie Bérubé, Jacques-Bernard Gauthier


This paper addresses the following question: what happens when people pool their resources in a project but also compete for market share? This question is at the heart of project management in the cultural industries. To be viable, these projects must find a compromise between competition and collaboration. To conceptualize this compromise, we used the theoretical framework On Justification by Boltanski and Thévenot (2006). These authors represented society with six independent worlds, and they explored compromises between the various worlds. We associate competition with the market world and collaboration with the civic world. Boltanski and Thévenot (2006) did not find a figure of compromise between these two worlds, but we suggest that coopetition is a viable form of compromise. We undertook 50 semi-structured interviews with professional visual artists to empirically support our assumptions that (1) coopetition is the answer to our initial question, and (2) it is the figure of compromise between the market and civic worlds. Our findings contribute to the literature on coopetition in project management by presenting three typical cases of coopetition in projects in cultural industries: artwork creation projects, art exhibition projects in private galleries, and art exhibition projects in cooperative galleries. We also contribute to the literature on Boltanski and Thévenot (2006) theoretical framework by exploring a new figure of compromise.


Project Management; Cultural Industries; Coopetition; On Justification


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