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Compromise between creative activities and project management activities: a contingency factor

Julie Bérubé, Jacques-Bernard Gauthier


Creative organizations are characterized by project management and struggle with a tension between their creative activities and their project management activities. They must reach a compromise allowing the management of this tension. This research’s objective is to explore this compromise as a contingency factor in the competitive positioning of these organizations in the creative market. Therefore, this research supports existing project management literature on contingency. To do so, we conducted a multiple correspondence analysis with data collected (semi-structured interviews) from 35 creative workers, artistic directors and project managers working in 11 advertising agencies. The theoretical framework of justification of Boltanski and Thévenot (1991, 2006) was used to explore the compromise as a contingency factor. This research proposes a practical and a theoretical contribution. On the one hand, it guides creative organizations wanting to modify their competitive positioning based on managing the compromise of the tension between creative activities and project management activities. On the second hand, it uses an original analysis technique to study the contingency in the management of projects.


Tensions in projects, creative projects, contingency factor, multiple correspondence analysis, theory of justification


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