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Ecologies of creativity: the Village, the Group, and the heterarchic organisation of the British advertising industry


  • Gernot Grabher


In the 1980s, the hegemony of the large US advertising networks has been challenged by a new breed of London-based agencies who pioneered what is known in the trade as 'second wave'. On the one hand, second wave implied the emancipation of Soho from an 'outpost of Madison Avenue' to the 'advertising village' on the basis of momentous product and process innovations. On the other hand, a few London agencies rose to global top positions on the crest of the second wave by transforming themselves from international advertising networks into global communication groups. This paper starts from the assumption that both, the localised cluster of advertising agencies in the advertising village (the 'Village') and the global communications group (the 'Group'), share basic principles of social organisation. It aims at demonstrating that the organisational logic of both the Village and the Group can be conceptualised in terms of a heterarchy. By drawing on case-study evidence from Soho on the one hand and from the world leading communications business, WPP, on the other, the five basic features of heterarchies -- diversity, rivalry, tags, projects, and reflexivity -- will provide the conceptual tools for the investigation into the social organisation of the Village and the Group.

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  • Gernot Grabher, 2001. "Ecologies of creativity: the Village, the Group, and the heterarchic organisation of the British advertising industry," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 33(2), pages 351-374, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:33:y:2001:i:2:p:351-374

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    Cited by:

    1. Tanja Sinozic & Franz Tödtling, 2015. "Adaptation and Change in Creative Clusters: Findings from Vienna's New Media Sector," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(10), pages 1975-1992, October.
    2. Franz Tödtling & Alexander Auer, 2017. "Knowledge bases, innovation and multi-scalar relationships - Which kind of territorial boundedness of industrial clusters?," SRE-Disc sre-disc-2017_08, Institute for Multilevel Governance and Development, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    3. Bjørn Asheim & Høgni Kalsø Hansen, 2009. "Knowledge Bases, Talents, and Contexts: On the Usefulness of the Creative Class Approach in Sweden," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 85(4), pages 425-442, October.
    4. Scott, Allen J., 2010. "Cultural economy and the creative field of the city," MPRA Paper 32108, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Peter J. Taylor & Ben Derudder & James Faulconbridge & Michael Hoyler & Pengfei Ni, 2014. "Advanced Producer Service Firms as Strategic Networks, Global Cities as Strategic Places," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 90(3), pages 267-291, July.
    6. Andy C. Pratt, 2011. "Microclustering of the Media Industries in London," Chapters,in: Media Clusters, chapter 6 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Allen Scott, 2006. "Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Industrial Development: Geography and the Creative Field Revisited," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 1-24, February.
    8. Tödtling, Franz & Auer, Alexander & Sinozic, Tanja, 2014. "Driving factors for cluster development - Which kind of spatial rootedness and change?," SRE-Discussion Papers 4417, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    9. John Bowen & Thomas Leinbach, 2004. "Market Concentration In The Air Freight Forwarding Industry," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 95(2), pages 174-188, April.
    10. Høgni Kalsø Hansen & Lars Winther, 2010. "The Spatial Division Of Talent In City Regions: Location Dynamics Of Business Services In Copenhagen," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 101(1), pages 55-72, February.
    11. Neil Lee & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 2014. "Creativity, Cities, and Innovation," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 46(5), pages 1139-1159, May.
    12. Sihvonen, Tanja & Cnossen, Boukje, 2016. "Not only a workplace : Reshaping creative work and urban space," Other publications TiSEM ed1326b7-ed1a-4b44-a4b5-d, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    13. Pierre-Alexandre Balland & Mathijs De Vaan & Ron Boschma, 2013. "The dynamics of interfirm networks along the industry life cycle: The case of the global video game industry, 1987--2007," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(5), pages 741-765, September.
    14. Peter Wood, 2006. "Urban Development and Knowledge-Intensive Business Services: Too Many Unanswered Questions?," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(3), pages 335-361.
    15. Katherine C. Kellogg & Wanda J. Orlikowski & JoAnne Yates, 2006. "Life in the Trading Zone: Structuring Coordination Across Boundaries in Postbureaucratic Organizations," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 17(1), pages 22-44, February.
    16. repec:oup:jecgeo:v:18:y:2018:i:5:p:1045-1068. is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Thiel Joachim, 2007. "Räumlicher Strukturwandel der (west-)deutschen Werbewirtschaft," Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie, De Gruyter, vol. 51(1), pages 31-45, October.
    18. Robert C. Kloosterman, 2004. "Recent Employment Trends In The Cultural Industries In Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague And Utrecht: A First Exploration," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 95(2), pages 243-252, April.
    19. Michael Taylor, 2010. "Clusters: A Mesmerising Mantra," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 101(3), pages 276-286, July.
    20. Ron Boschma & Pierre-Alexandre Balland & Mathijs de Vaan, 2014. "The formation of economic networks: a proximity approach," Chapters,in: Regional Development and Proximity Relations, chapter 7, pages 243-266 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    21. Lech Suwala, 2012. "The Geography of Creativity," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(8), pages 1103-1105, September.

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