مدیریت پروژه های خلاقانه: سنتز تجربی فعالیت ها
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|2193||2006||11 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Project Management, Volume 24, Issue 2, February 2006, Pages 116–126
This paper proposes a radical empirical look on the concrete activities of project managers involved in creative projects, with a specific focus on “non-administrative” issues. Through four case studies in the video-game industry, multimedia, advertising and a circus, we propose an integrated synthesis of what creative project managers actually do. Beyond analytical, cognitive, psychological, symbolic and discursive activities, we identify four sets of activities carefully coined to acknowledge the everyday work of project manager involved in creative projects. We suggest that this project manager acts as a sense-maker, a web-weaver, a game-master and a flow-balancer. This empirical “picture” raises questions on the technical and theoretical focus of research in project management where creativity is an utmost strategic issue.
In the first issue of this journal, Blankevoort suggested that “tools should be developed for the management of creativity to make project management complete as a recognized profession” . Researchers and practitioners as well provided numerous answers to this call, in the form of general management approaches  and , creativity-inducing methods  and  and techniques . Yet, little has been said on what project managers actually do to lead creative teams. As our business world is shifting from a knowledge-based to a conception/design-based economy , creative projects are becoming a strategic necessity . Managers and leaders are getting more concerned about the management of creative endeavours . In this regard, it has been suggested that construction and product-development projects ask for different work processes, especially from the psychosocial point of view . In “Design-Oriented Organizations” , the mobilisation of collective knowledge through projects is essential. In projects where ambiguity increases and goals are only broadly/partially defined, collective creativity has to be fostered, channelled and managed. Beyond the interesting practical and theoretical issues on creativity skills and methods , , , , ,  and , the managerial  and  or structural approaches to foster creativity in individuals and groups , ,  and  and the literature on creative leadership  and  or best practices in the management of creativity for innovation , ,  and , less has been empirically done to assess how project managers concretely handle individual and collective creativity in projects. In this regard, this paper aims at introducing the activities of project managers involved in creative projects in a non-abstract, non-theoretical way, with a strong focus on describing what they actually do. After a short theoretical introduction and some brief methodological considerations, the core of the paper presents an empirical “picture” based on field data from various creative industries. It is argued that the project manager engages in sets of activities coined as sense-maker, web-weaver, game-master and flow-balancer (see Fig. 1). Those activities and categories are discussed with further reflections on the management of creativity in projects.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This study remains exploratory and needs further empirical validation/refutation and a stronger effort in theorization. However, it has the merit to account for the pluralistic and complex roles well-balanced creative project managers are playing in their field. We do not propose strong theoretical claims based on this fieldwork. Rather we would like to use this rich and detailed picture to emphasize three points to expose some reflections and insights for further research. First point, we would like to stress the congruency of our observations with the main trends in research on creative leadership. Most of our observations could easily be reinterpreted, discussed and debated in the perspective of the theoretical research on leadership for creativity of the last twenty years. These descriptions are mostly consistent with the classical description of the manager’s job, the project managers play interpersonal, informational and decisional roles . From the point of view of the management of creativity, our project managers act in accordance with the now classical description of creative leadership . All through the four sets of activities introduced here, the creative PMs were mostly providing the individuals and the team with meaning, knowledge-sharing spaces, and a balance of challenges and support. They would act as context builders more than plan-and-control managers . Project managers trust the expertise of their employees and focus in defining a clear orientation for the project and a supportive context all along the project. Support is granted through imposed and negotiated rules, communication and animation, leaving a lot of freedom for experimentation, trials and errors. Motivation is fostered through the implementation of a creative climate  and  based on clarity of objectives, careful job assignments and alignment of individuals’ interests with sub-mandates, a constant reassertion of challenges, permanent recognition of achievement, reinforcement through sense-making, and a sense of collective fun. As our accounts are not completely new in this perspective, they contribute in two ways to the understanding of the management of creative teams in projects. First, in grounding our descriptions into the deeds and words of managers, those descriptions bring some flesh to more and more abstract theoretical considerations. Second, those observations allow understanding into more details how project managers concretely handle individual and collective creativity in projects. Our second insight proposes to reconsider the activities of project managers involved in creative endeavours through the framework that emerged from the fieldwork. As a “sense-maker”, the main concern of creative project managers seem to be to establish a “platform of understanding”, fuelled by “shared meaning”. The project manager would spend time and efforts to establish a common ground for collective action. As a “web-weaver”, he/she would reinforce these sense-making activities through intensive work in developing a communication infrastructure and social context that favour learning and knowledge sharing. In this regards, this framework is consistent with some previous experimental work on creative leadership and team development which raises similar issues about the orientation of project managers as creative leaders . The PM’s second main concern seems to be to keep the level of individual engagement and motivation as high and aligned as possible. As a “game-master”, he/she would also try to maintain and develop the common ground as a playground, where each individual would participate, get involved and feel challenged according to his/her own talents. In doing so, he/she handles another issue emphasized by Ekvall and Arvonen , constant change. Change is addressed through micro-challenges at the individual level and through reciprocal “co-opetitive” challenges at the inter-individual level, which foster intrinsic motivation. It can be hypothesized here that this is one important key issue to answer the main concern of creative project managers: performing. As “game-masters” and “flow-balancers”, the creative project managers we observed would put a very strong emphasis on the quality of the experience for any team members and on the never-ending quest for “flow”. Flow and fun seem to be more and more acknowledged as a powerful lever for creativity in “new wave” organizations and projects , , ,  and . Further research is needed to develop a better understanding of the emergence of flow/fun through concrete managerial practice. One interesting perspective emerging from the field is to consider the creative project as a – very serious – game. According to our observations, that is what creative project managers actually do, framing and animating the team with clear goals and visions, crafting empowering rules, and focusing on developing a subtle balance between constraints and freedom. This approach is consistent with the structural definition of what a game is: “the invention of a freedom in/by a set of rules” . According to one informant, this balance is the key to creative performance: “We provide the employees with a work environment where they can experiment, learn, share tricks, within clear boundaries. It’s all about those boundaries, the space they create and the resources and support we bring in. If everything is there, they will play the game and give their best, because they would experience deep fun. We let them play, but fine-tuning the rules is a lot of work!” Congruent with the well-known work of Csikszenmihaliy, these insights still ask for empirical research to account for the concrete management of work as play and its efficiency  and . In line with recent works on middle-management  and , our third and final comment takes the shape of a praise of creative project managers. Simple practice as the public rewarding of positive realisation and the one-and-one evaluation of errors shows the embedded tacit wisdom of project managers. As the main interface, they play a determining role in integrating the group, the individual and the organizational context . The time and efforts they would spend to clarify the meaning of individual and collective action and to craft a cohesive image of the project should draw researchers’ attention back on the reflexivity in action in such creative projects. If we expect to address further the need for a multilevel understanding of the management of creative teams and projects, theoretical integration will ask for more research at the concrete end of the continuum: direct observations and qualitative accounts of project managers’ actual actions, intuitive decision-making and rationale.