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The Cat Herder: The Role and Function of the Agency Creative Director
Unformatted Document Text:  THE  CAT  HERDER     14   researchers. In an effort to overcome some of the biases that occur with a convenience sample, every effort was take to ensure the agencies were chosen in a purposeful manner. For example, much research has found that large organizations operate differently than small organizations (e.g. Baker & Cullen 1993), so both large and small agencies were visited by each researcher. Further, an effort was made to study agencies from different regions of the United States and in large versus small advertising markets. This purposive sampling aimed to achieve the maximum level of divergence among the data. An attempt was made to interview as many employees at each agency as the week’s time would permit, with emphasis on individuals from the creative department in larger agencies, where it was not possible to meet with every employee. In order to guarantee the privacy of the participants, all names have been changed. The total dataset consists of six weeks of data utilizing the following methods: field observation, formal interviews, and informal conversations, which after notes were transcribed resulted in 277 pages of typed data. The data was coded and analyzed by the lead researcher on this study and shared with the two collaborators for further analysis. Consistent with grounded theory (Glaser & Strauss 1967), themes emerged from the data that are presented here. FINDINGS The findings show that the primary functions of a creative director are consistent, though power and authority vary across and within agencies. Creative titles have no fixed meaning or definition in the industry, though the function of a creative director was similar from agency to agency. In some agencies, for instance, an Associate Creative Director (ACD) title is an honorary one indicating a more experience or highly regarded “working” creative—not necessarily one who is supervising

Authors: Mallia, Karen., Windels, Kasey. and Broyles, Sheri.
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researchers. In an effort to overcome some of the biases that occur with a convenience 
sample, every effort was take to ensure the agencies were chosen in a purposeful manner. For 
example, much research has found that large organizations operate differently than small 
organizations (e.g. Baker & Cullen 1993), so both large and small agencies were visited by 
each researcher. Further, an effort was made to study agencies from different regions of the 
United States and in large versus small advertising markets. This purposive sampling aimed 
to achieve the maximum level of divergence among the data. 
An attempt was made to interview as many employees at each agency as the week’s 
time would permit, with emphasis on individuals from the creative department in larger 
agencies, where it was not possible to meet with every employee. In order to guarantee the 
privacy of the participants, all names have been changed. The total dataset consists of six 
weeks of data utilizing the following methods: field observation, formal interviews, and 
informal conversations, which after notes were transcribed resulted in 277 pages of typed 
data. The data was coded and analyzed by the lead researcher on this study and shared with 
the two collaborators for further analysis. Consistent with grounded theory (Glaser & Strauss 
1967), themes emerged from the data that are presented here. 
The findings show that the primary functions of a creative director are consistent, 
though power and authority vary across and within agencies. 
Creative titles have no fixed meaning or definition in the industry, though the 
function of a creative director was similar from agency to agency. In some agencies, for 
instance, an Associate Creative Director (ACD) title is an honorary one indicating a more 
experience or highly regarded “working” creative—not necessarily one who is supervising 

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