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The Cat Herder: The Role and Function of the Agency Creative Director
Unformatted Document Text:  THE  CAT  HERDER     5   background is in art direction or writing, although more writers seem to get the spot” (Vonk & Kestin, 2005, p. 150). This new position as manager comes with many new roles and expectations that require the creative director to wear many hats. “They have to be good at managing people, keeping up morale, hiring, firing, training, quality control, and client management (keeping clients happy, helping them buy brave work, solving problems, taking it in the face when they’re not happy). Creative directors are almost always the most visible people in their agencies, inside and out. They get credit, and blame” (Vonk & Kestin 2005, 147). Creative director titles come in a variety of shapes and sizes, depending upon agency size and type, individual level of experience and ability to negotiate. Different creative director titles do not necessarily mean the same thing, or carry identical responsibility, from agency to agency. As one would expect, there are more multiple levels of creative director at larger agencies, and the greatest number at the largest agency studied: Associate Creative Director (ACD), Creative Director (CD), Group Creative Director (GCD), and Executive Creative Director (ECD) all reporting to one Chief Creative Officer (from lowest to highest). For the purposes of this study, the term “creative director” is all encompassing of the above variations, since honor and salary are the primary differentiators, while the essential aspects of the job are the same. LITERATURE REVIEW There is a huge body of literature in both psychology and management concerning “creative leadership” as an important construct in leadership style and behaviors, sometimes—but not necessarily—connected with a creative industry (e.g. Amabile & Khaire, 2008; Basadur 2004; Florida & Goodnight 2005; Goffee & Jones 2007; Sternberg, Kaufman

Authors: Mallia, Karen., Windels, Kasey. and Broyles, Sheri.
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THE  CAT  HERDER  
 
5  
background is in art direction or writing, although more writers seem to 
get the spot” (Vonk & Kestin, 2005, p. 150). 
 
This new position as manager comes with many new roles and expectations that 
require the creative director to wear many hats.   
“They have to be good at managing people, keeping up morale, hiring, 
firing, training, quality control, and client management (keeping clients 
happy, helping them buy brave work, solving problems, taking it in the 
face when they’re not happy).  Creative directors are almost always the 
most visible people in their agencies, inside and out. They get credit, and 
blame” (Vonk & Kestin 2005, 147). 
 
Creative director titles come in a variety of shapes and sizes, depending upon agency 
size and type, individual level of experience and ability to negotiate. Different creative 
director titles do not necessarily mean the same thing, or carry identical responsibility, from 
agency to agency. As one would expect, there are more multiple levels of creative director at 
larger agencies, and the greatest number at the largest agency studied: Associate Creative 
Director (ACD), Creative Director (CD), Group Creative Director (GCD), and Executive 
Creative Director (ECD) all reporting to one Chief Creative Officer (from lowest to highest).  
For the purposes of this study, the term “creative director” is all encompassing of the above 
variations, since honor and salary are the primary differentiators, while the essential aspects 
of the job are the same. 
 
 
LITERATURE REVIEW 
 
There is a huge body of literature in both psychology and management concerning 
“creative leadership” as an important construct in leadership style and behaviors, 
sometimes—but not necessarily—connected with a creative industry (e.g. Amabile & Khaire, 
2008; Basadur 2004; Florida & Goodnight 2005; Goffee & Jones 2007; Sternberg, Kaufman 


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