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The Cat Herder: The Role and Function of the Agency Creative Director
Unformatted Document Text:  THE  CAT  HERDER     7   Other theories have also taken the context or environment into account. Csikszentmihalyi (1988) developed a systems perspective of creativity, which states that “creativity is a process that can be observed only at the intersection where individuals, domains, and fields interact” (Csikszentmihalyi 1999, p. 314). Creativity is not determined by the individual creator, rather it is situated in a context or system that interacts with it to determine what is creative. “Original thought does not exist in a vacuum. It must operate on a set of already existing objects, rules, representations, or notations” (Csikszentmihalyi 1999, p. 315). Further, Amabile’s componential model of creativity (1988) has three interlocking components of creativity—domain-relevant skills, creativity-relevant processes, and intrinsic motivation—needed for high levels of creativity and innovation within organizations. It almost goes without saying that creativity is crucial to the success of an advertising agency. Creativity is not just contingent upon the talents of the individuals producing it, but also the environment that supports it (Amabile, Conti, Coon, Lazenby & Herron 1996, Csikszentmihalyi 1988). A wealth of research and three major theories of organizational creativity support the fact that environment plays a significant role in contributing to the creativity of individuals (Amabile 1988, 1997; Woodman, Sawyer & Griffin 1993; Ford 1996). What is less obvious is the critical role that leadership plays in creating that environment, and in turn fostering that creativity. The componential theory of creativity (Amabile 1988, 1997) holds precisely that: …the support provided by immediate supervisors exerts an influence on subordinates’ creativity through direct help with the project, the development of subordinate expertise, and the enhancement of subordinate intrinsic motivation. The componential theory proposes that positive behaviors of supervisors include serving as a good work model, planning and setting goals appropriately, supporting the work group within the organization, communicating and interacting well with the work group, valuing individual contributions to the project, providing constructive feedback, showing confidence in the work group, and being open to new ideas (Amabile, 1997). Thus

Authors: Mallia, Karen., Windels, Kasey. and Broyles, Sheri.
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THE  CAT  HERDER  
 
7  
Other theories have also taken the context or environment into account. 
Csikszentmihalyi (1988) developed a systems perspective of creativity, which states that 
“creativity is a process that can be observed only at the intersection where individuals, 
domains, and fields interact” (Csikszentmihalyi 1999, p. 314). Creativity is not determined 
by the individual creator, rather it is situated in a context or system that interacts with it to 
determine what is creative. “Original thought does not exist in a vacuum. It must operate on a 
set of already existing objects, rules, representations, or notations” (Csikszentmihalyi 1999, 
p. 315). Further, Amabile’s componential model of creativity (1988) has three interlocking 
components of creativity—domain-relevant skills, creativity-relevant processes, and intrinsic 
motivation—needed for high levels of creativity and innovation within organizations.    
It almost goes without saying that creativity is crucial to the success of an advertising 
agency. Creativity is not just contingent upon the talents of the individuals producing it, but 
also the environment that supports it (Amabile, Conti, Coon, Lazenby & Herron 1996, 
Csikszentmihalyi 1988). A wealth of research and three major theories of organizational 
creativity support the fact that environment plays a significant role in contributing to the 
creativity of individuals (Amabile 1988, 1997; Woodman, Sawyer & Griffin 1993; Ford 
1996). What is less obvious is the critical role that leadership plays in creating that 
environment, and in turn fostering that creativity. The componential theory of creativity 
(Amabile 1988, 1997) holds precisely that: 
…the support provided by immediate supervisors exerts an influence on subordinates’ 
creativity through direct help with the project, the development of subordinate 
expertise, and the enhancement of subordinate intrinsic motivation. The componential 
theory proposes that positive behaviors of supervisors include serving as a good work 
model, planning and setting goals appropriately, supporting the work group within the 
organization, communicating and interacting well with the work group, valuing 
individual contributions to the project, providing constructive feedback, showing 
confidence in the work group, and being open to new ideas (Amabile, 1997). Thus 


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