Research Output

Creativity work environment: do UK advertising agencies have one?

  Purpose ? The aim of the present study is to identify whether the work environment of advertising agencies display the key elements (both positive and negative) of the conceptual categories which Amabile et al. hypothesise influence organisational creativity. Design/methodology/approach ? Amabile et al.'s model proposes five conceptual categories which the KEYS instrument, developed from their conceptual framework, measures using ten scales reflecting different dimensions of the work environment. The KEYS instrument is employed in this research to survey staff from two London-based advertising agencies. The aim was to gain information from individuals across functions and at all levels within these organisations. Findings ? This research found that the UK advertising agencies are organised in a manner that allows them to strongly reinforce three key dimensions, work group supports, lack of organisational impediments and organisational encouragement, which Amabile et al. suggest are critical in facilitating organisational creativity. However, on one key dimension, challenging work, the advertising agencies' performances are well below the norm found in previous studies. The findings on one associated dimension, lack of workload pressure, also appear to be in conflict with the results of previous research. Originality/value ? Although the majority of the findings of this paper support Amabile et al.'s conceptual framework, a number of issues emerge from this research which may suggest some future refinements are warranted to the composition of both the conceptual framework and the current configuration of the KEYS research tool.


Ensor, J., Pirrie, A. & Band, C. (2006). Creativity work environment: do UK advertising agencies have one?. European Journal of Innovation Management. 9, 258-268. doi:10.1108/14601060610678130. ISSN 1460-1060



advertising agencies; creative thinking; organizational culture; working patterns; keys instrument;

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