Supporting creativity through knowledge integration during the creative processes. A management control system perspective


  • Maurizio Massaro
  • Roland Bardy
  • Michael Pitts


management control system, levers of control, knowledge integration


Organizations require an intensive knowledge integration mechanism that supports creativity within all the phases of its process in order to analyze, understand, select, and integrate ideas into a business model. Management Control Systems, as a part of the structural capital, can be utilized as knowledge integration mechanisms to provide: i) a dialog among internal or external actors of the creative process; ii) a knowledge repository for data and other information required in the selecting process; iii) representation of the new ideas into a business model. Using a multi‑method case study, this article analyzes the role of knowledge integration played by Management Control Systems (MCS). Within the perspective of the Levers of Control (Simons, 1995), MCS are recognized as the sum of belief, boundary, diagnostic and interactive systems that could be used to manage the creative process. We apply the Appreciative Inquiry model of creativity (Cooperrider, Srivastva, 1987) which recognizes four steps: Discovery, Dream, Design, and Destiny. Creativity is then classified based on the problem's characteristic using Unsworth's model (2001) which separates closed and open problems. Results show that in the early phases of the creativity process problems are more structured and are faced using diagnostic and boundary tools. In the design phase, a dynamic tension between interactive and diagnostic systems is always preferred. The final phase (Destiny) requires diagnostic approaches in all cases. On this foundation, the paper aims to contribute to the literature on innovation and intangible assets. It is our opinion that the results could also be used by managers and entrepreneurs involved in the creative process in order to improve a companies ability to face change.



1 Jul 2012