Managing Creativity in Media Organisations

Dwyer, P. 2016. Managing Creativity in Media Organisations. in: Ferrell Lowe, G. and Brown, C. (ed.) Managing Media Firms and Industries Switzerland Springer. pp. 343-365

Chapter titleManaging Creativity in Media Organisations
AuthorsDwyer, P.
EditorsFerrell Lowe, G. and Brown, C.

Can creativity be managed? Or are the concepts antithetical; is management creativity’s Kryptonite? Almost since Weber’s (1912/1968) formulation of the theory of bureaucracy, the idea of management has been criticised as inimical to creative freedom. This chapter addresses the question of whether media creativity can be managed by reviewing the literature in the field of managing creativity and conducting a case study analysis of an attempt to improve creativity at the BBC. The requirement to manage creativity in practice is arguably a comparatively unique characteristic of media management in both theory and practice. As Lucy Küng (Strategic management in the Media. London, Sage. 9, 2008a) argued, ‘the value of media products derives from the knowledge and creative inspiration of those creating the content; the higher the level of novelty and creativity, the greater the potential for competitive advantage’. For the field of media management as a discipline, this implies that somehow or other media organisations must find ways to manage creativity.

First, I examine the challenge media creativity poses to conventional management thinking and practice. The following section reviews the various attempts by academic researchers to describe and explain how this challenge may be confronted in theory and in practice. This section attempts to show how the different approaches to managing creativity reflect differences in their underlying conceptions of what creativity is. Amabile’s (Creativity in context. Westview Press, 1996a) model of creativity is identified as the best available tool for research and practice in managing creativity. Significant modifications are suggested to improve the model, particularly in conceptualising the role of domain skills in creativity.

The final section attempts to use this model to evaluate Greg Dyke’s attempt to make the BBC ‘the most creative organisation in the world’. The results of the analysis suggest a role for a specialised discipline of media management in developing our understanding of how domain skills specific to media organisations can be combined with more generic tools for promoting creativity to provide a better understanding of how to resolve the inevitable tensions between conventional management practice and media creativity. Further research in this field may develop better conceptualisations of creativity in organisations that could contribute to the broader range of thinking in the fields of creativity and management for media firms

Book titleManaging Media Firms and Industries
Page range343-365
Publication dates
Place of publicationSwitzerland
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
JournalManaging Media Firms and Industries

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