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PROJECT II.3 The Temporal Structuring of Creative Projects: Organizing Creativity through Entrainment (Grabher, Schüßler, Sydow)

Key Facts

Principal investigarots:  Prof. Dr. Gernot Grabher, HCU Hamburg, Prof. Dr. Elke Schüßler, Johannes Kepler University and Prof. Dr. Jörg Sydow, Freie Universität Berlin

Postdoctoral student: Dr. Benjamin Schiemer

Project Description

This project investigates the role of entrainment, defined as the adjustment or moderation of one behavior to synchronize or to be in rhythm with another behavior, in creative projects. Entrainment is typically seen as a way of reducing uncertainty stemming from the organizational environment and as important for increasing organizational efficiency. However, creative projects involve complex interactions between various actors, organizing principles and artefacts that are not easily “entrained”, i.e. synchronized, with each other. Furthermore, while entrainment may be beneficial for efficiency, this may come at the expense of creativity. While entrainment might stimulate moments of collective creativity ahead of project milestones or presentations at industry events, disentrainment may be needed to create spaces for ideas to flourish. Thus, entrainment may be beneficial for creativity only at some stages of an idea journey. This project, first, seeks to systematize the variety of relevant temporal structures influencing creative processes on different levels of analysis in two different fields, music and pharma. Second, it aims to foreground the role of disentrainment as an important practice by which creativity is organized. Third, it aims to unpack the role of materiality in creative projects in the two fields as influencing temporal structures and practices of temporal structuring alike. Fourth, it aims to go beyond a description of different temporal structures and practices playing a role in creative processes by applying a comparative design that helps to develop propositions regarding which practices of (dis-)entrainment foster creativity in which field contexts and in different stages of the creative process.

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