Call for Papers: »Organizing Creativity in the Innovation Journey«

Organizing Creativity in the Innovation Journey
Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

Demands for creativity today range well beyond typically “creative” and cultural industries to most sectors of the economy and, as some would argue, even society at large. Seen as the basis for innovating new products, processes or services, creativity is no longer considered as an individual personality trait but as a subject of intentional organizing. Such organizing efforts not only occur within formal organizations like firms, schools, universities or (non-)governmental organizations, but increasingly cross organizational boundaries to include inter­organizational networks as well as clusters, communities and crowds. Regardless of the context in question, central challenges for organizing creativity revolve around the following themes: When and in what ways do slack or constraints foster creativity? How do organizations allow for and even foster moments of serendipity, even in highly-structured innovation processes? Does the uncertainty that characterizes creative processes hinder or stimulate creativity? What is the role of rules and regulations in reducing or inducing different kinds of uncertainty? What are the social dynamics unfolding in physical and virtual spaces for creative collaboration?

Likewise, for scholars researching organized creativity, central challenges remain regarding the integration of extant knowledge and the exploration of blind spots in our knowledge. How do organizing practices vary along the idea journey from identifying a problem and generating an original idea via idea elaboration and championing to its implementation and/or diffusion? What are possible unintended consequences and even “dark sides” of efforts to organize creativity, such as dynamics of exclusion or idea and resource misappropriation, and how do organizations deal with these? What are the politics of negotiating creativity on different levels, both within organizations and in wider organizational fields? In what ways are processes and practices of organizing creativity similar or different in different fields, such as the arts and the sciences? How can we conceptualize and study creative processes, beyond variance and process-based ontologies and success cases as epistemic objects?

We call for papers that address these and related questions for a conference convened by the DFG-funded Research Unit “Organized Creativity” at the School of Business & Economics of the Freie Universität Berlin. The Unit, comprising researchers from different disciplines, studies creative processes in music and pharma­ceuticals – as representatives of creativity in the arts and in the sciences. Principal Investigators from the field of business studies are: Prof. Jana Costas, Viadrina University Frankfurt/Oder, Prof. Leonhard Dobusch, University of Innsbruck, Prof. Gregory Jackson, Freie Universität Berlin, Prof. Elke Schüßler, JKU Linz, and Prof. Jörg Sydow, Freie Universität Berlin (Spokes­person); from economic geography they are: Prof. Gernot Grabher, HCU Hamburg, and Prof. Oliver Ibert, Freie Universität Berlin and IRS Erkner; and from sociology: Prof. Sigrid Quack, University of Duisburg-Essen.

The International Conference is scheduled for two full days and will adopt a classic format with paper presentations and assigned discussants. Keynote presentations will be given by Prof. Candace Jones, University of Edinburgh, and Prof. Daniel Hjorth, Copenhagen Business School. In addition, a music event is envisaged. Members of the International Advisory Board of the Research Unit, Prof. Joseph Lampel, Manchester Business School, Prof. Amalya Oliver, Hebrew University Jerusalem, Prof. Andy Pratt, City University London, and Prof. Peter Tschmuck, University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, have also agreed to participate.

Interested researchers, not only from the three disciplines represented in the Unit but also from psychology and anthropology and other social sciences, are cordially invited to submit a full paper (6,000-10,000 words) by March 15, 2019 to Notifi­ca­tion of acceptance will sent out no later than March 31, 2019. The workshop will be held at a conference facility on the campus of the Freie Universität Berlin and start with an informal get-together on the evening of July 10 and end in the late afternoon of July 12, 2019. There is a participation fee of € 150, but several grants for travel expenses will be available.

The best papers of the conference will be invited to be included in a Research in the Socio­logy of Organizations volume on our conference theme edited by Patrick Cohendet, Elke Schüßler, and Silviya Svejenova.

For further information about the Unit please visit the website of our research group or contact

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