Organizing the Creative Process in the Fashion Industry: Moving between the Individual and Team Level

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In the fashion industry a sustainable competitive advantage implies the development of composite creative processes to sustain the core organizational activities and it is mandatory to develop innovation to cope with the increasing environmental complexity of the post modern society (Amabile 1996; Bharadwaj & Menon 2000; George 2007). Due to the growing complexity of the competitive environment (and, consequently, of the organizations), creativity within the modern organizations is mainly a collective outcome (Woodman et al. 1993; Amabile 1996; Rank et al. 2004; Hargadon & Bechky 2006). There is a growing body of literature on creativity, but some gaps are recognized. First, creativity is extensively studied at the individual level, and less more recent research investigate its collective dimension (Shalley et al. 2004; George 2007). Second, the impact of different organizational variables on creativity (such as leadership, rewards, emotions, job design) has been studied separately and according to the positivistic framework, making it difficult to reach a comprehensive and integrated theoretical understanding of the creative flow (Amabile 1996). Finally, only a few studies empirically explore together the contribution of both individual and collective creativity as well as social and organizational features that impact on the creativity origin (Taggar 2002; Pirola Merlo & Mann 2004). With reference to team creativity, there are mainly two types of studies: those focusing on individuals and those focusing on groups (including organization-wide creativity studies). What is missing are multi-level empirical studies and contributions about the creative process (George, 2007). While the more segmented studies have advanced our knowledge of what creativity is and how it works, it is questionable whether they can be applied in organizational settings where individual and group creativity constantly interact. In fact, in the Organization Studies literature, we often see examples of creative individuals boosting group creativity, and, vice versa, creative group environments influencing individual creativity; e.g. IDEO (Kelly and Littman, 2001), Google (Rindova et al, 2010), El Buli (Svejanova et al, 2007). However, little is known of how such interactions occur and, even less, the perceptions and the motivation of the people involved. Given the pressure for today’s organizations to creatively innovate at multiple levels, this gap seems particularly relevant (Bharadwaj, and Menon, 2000; Leenders, van Engelen, and Kratzer, 2007). The main contribution of this article is to propose a comprehensive framework to describe the creative process, understanding its origin and how the individual, team and organizational levels interact and reciprocally overlap in the creative flow. Considering such a lack of evidence about the creative process, the fashion industry seems particularly suited for our exploratory aim because it is en emblematic creative field, where creativity is a core issue both for the firms sustainability and their success (Mazza, Pedersen & Svejenova, 2005). Furthermore, despite this evident central role of creativity in the fashion industry, there are only few research studies within this field. (Djelic & Ainamo, 1999). The paper is organized as follows. The first section develops the literature review aiming at defining and contextualizing the research questions. The second is devoted to illustrating the construction of the research design, based on a grounded approach, consistently to the exploratory aim of our study; the actual study sample is composed of nine successful and well-know fashion companies. The third presents the preliminary results of the multiple case analysis (based on about forty in-depth interviews with stylists, HR managers and creative employees). The final section is devoted to discussing the results and suggesting future avenues of research o
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteN/A
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2012
Evento28th EGOS Colloquium: Design? - Helsinki
Durata: 5 lug 20127 lug 2012


Convegno28th EGOS Colloquium: Design?


  • Creative People
  • Creative Process
  • Fashion
  • Organizational Practices


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