Management and Creativity: Understanding the Ideology of Neo-Liberal Management Dionna Matlock
In today’s world of advanced technology and an expanding global economy, considering employees as creative thinkers and understanding their work motivation is an integral part of the strategic process of creative management. Creativity can mean anything from inventing a new product or design, to developing a new approach to an old way of thinking. Managerial intervention plays an important role in developing the creative processes of the creative worker, whether supporting a personal break through, or encouraging the creative worker to express their ideas more often. Such interaction requires thinking in terms of neo-liberal management. In Chris Bilton’s book, Management and Creativity, from Creative Industries to Creative Management (2007), Chris attempts to debunk the myth that total freedom itself will not result in increased creativity, but the management of the creative process will be the catalyst for innovation. Management and Creativity: Understanding the Ideology of Neo-Liberal Management After reading the argument Chris’s poses against the mythology of the self-motivated worker, I began to associate his idea of who is the “creative genius” to my current work environment at Dolce & Gabbana. At the Dolce & Gabbana company retail store there are three associates; the store manager, the sales associate who self-proclaims to be the assistant manager, and myself. Despite that each of us has had some form of work experience in retail operations, collaborating as a functional team to operate the store has been the greatest challenge. I agree with Chris that “Creative thinking accordingly takes place on the boarders between different parts of the brain, or at the intersection between different style of thinking and different realities” (Bilton, 2007). Coming from different backgrounds of retail, we all had different ideas of how to run the store. From the beginning, a power struggle between the store manager and the self-proclaimed assistant manager caused chaos and conflict in determining who would give commands and who would take the commands. As the saying goes, there were too many chiefs and not enough Indians. During the first two months of working together, there was total disagreement and very little collaboration. Everyone (including myself) wanted their voice to be heard, but no one wanted to listen. Since the retail manager over store operations was not present to broker the relationships between us, we often worked in total chaos, or reverted to creating self-appointed tasks. Since I am the most junior out of the three of us, I essentially made it my role in the team to be the catalyst for the group ideas. I was able to do this through diplomatic reasoning thereby making connections between the operational knowledge of the other sales associate, and the experience and know-how of the store manager. Putting my former project management experience to use has been the most effective way of developing a systematic approach to how each idea would be fostered. Now, our creative differences have value and meaning and the creative process of the store’s operations has increased. As I mentioned before there were a lot of disagreements and power struggles between us in the beginning, but the fact still remained that there were only three of us, and we were required to manage a new store with little support from the corporate level. Eventually through our creative tension we began to develop a mutual understanding that each has an invested interest in the store, and through that understanding, trust and respect has developed between us. Arthur Kostler’s coins this development of creative process as ‘bisociation’(Bilton, 2007). Our new frame of reference for collaborative creativity now comes from that development of trust and a building of genuine respect. Now all of...
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