Bounded creativity: understanding the restrictions on creative work in advertising agencies

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The theme of creativity has gained prominence among practitioners and academics, and the emergence of creative industries, which combine creativity and commercial logic, has rendered the topic even more relevant. Creativity is frequently associated with the existence of flexible organizational structures and organizational cultures that favor autonomy and freedom of action. However, organizations commonly impose limits on the actions of creative professionals because of the timescales, budgets, and business and customer demands inherent to the organizational context. Knowledge of creativity in academia has advanced considerably in recent decades. However, empirical studies investigating the restrictions imposed on creative work in organizations are lacking. This study addresses this gap in the literature. Our objective was to investigate creativity within advertising agencies, a creative industry sector. The results reveal that creativity in such environments is marked by collective work, conditioned by time pressures for performing tasks, and influenced by the tension that originates from the interaction between two dimensions: the search for originality and the need for acceptance. On the basis of this research, we propose the concept of bounded creativity, which reflects the weakening of the creative experience in organizations.

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