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Organising for Advertising Creativity: Differential Effects of Agency Structure, Absorptive Capacity, and Abrasion on Originality and Appropriateness

The aim of this thesis has been to extend our understanding of creativity. Creativity is an area that is vital to society, but most commentators agree is a complex area that has been under researched. The setting for this research was the advertising industry. This industry was chosen as it is one of the few industry’s that focuses primarily on the creative thinking process and has highly specialist personnel concentrating on creative ideation. However, unlike the majority of research on creativity, the aim of this thesis was to shed light on a range of interactive, processing capacity, and knowledge elements, in the creative thinking process, rather than looking at divergent thinking processes in isolation. This thesis is made up of four articles in Chapter’s Two to Five. The first of these articles is a replication and extension of the seminal study made by Koslow, Sasser and Riordan (2006) “Do Marketing Clients Really Get the Advertising They Deserve: Agency Views of How Clients Influence Creativity.” The article extends the findings from this seminal work in a different country context. The next article looks into a number of structural elements driving creativity in the agency-client relationship and found a number of key interactions affecting the creativity of outcomes. The third article delved into the area of absorptive capacity. In the creative thinking process a key limit is the ability of an organisation or individual to absorb the knowledge required to generate highly creative ideas. Research enabled the development of a model that illustrates the creative frontier, which is also the absorptive capacity frontier. The model indicates the trade-off that occurs between updating our beliefs with continuing to maintain these beliefs. The final article provides a model that summarises many of the key findings from the thesis. Using Agency Theory a new conceptual model that applies this in the context of absorptive capacity is developed. This model begins the process of trying to identify the key variables driving creative outputs in an agency setting and their complex interactions. Each article discusses the very real managerial implications of the findings for both advertising agencies and their clients, as well as the implications for managers as a whole. Additionally it is acknowledged that there is significant complexity in the creative thinking process and this is addressed in areas for further research.
Type of thesis
O’Connor, H. (2016). Organising for Advertising Creativity: Differential Effects of Agency Structure, Absorptive Capacity, and Abrasion on Originality and Appropriateness (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/9884
University of Waikato
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