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Organizational Creativity versus Vested Interests: The Role of Academic Entrepreneurs in the Emergence of Management Education at Oxbridge


  • Lise Arena

    (University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, France

  • Rani Dang

    (University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, France
    University of Gothenburg, Sweden)


As Amabile rightly put it when considering all the organizations she had studied and worked with, "creativity gets killed much more often than it gets supported" (Amabile, 1998). Organizational creativity is even more likely to be killed when an innovative institutional logic seeks to emerge without a corresponding institution, namely within a conservative institution based on strong vested interests. Embedded in a desire for institutional change, 'change agents' (Weik, 2011), beyond being individually creative have to orchestrate organizational creativity in order to turn their new idea into an institutionalised innovation. Based on this organizational paradox, the aim of this paper is twofold. First, it contributes to the existing literature dealing with entrepreneurial innovation and organizational creativity. In particular, it seeks to outline which kind of managerial practices foster creativity in a particularly conservative and inert environment. Second, it sheds light on an original comparative case study - the role of organizational creativity in the emergence and institutionalisation of Oxford and Cambridge business schools – that has been underexplored before and that relies on primary data. Based on a historical perspective of everyday organizational life and practices, this research emphasises the role of academic entrepreneurs in organizational changes through the legitimatization of organizational creativity.

Suggested Citation

  • Lise Arena & Rani Dang, 2015. "Organizational Creativity versus Vested Interests: The Role of Academic Entrepreneurs in the Emergence of Management Education at Oxbridge," GREDEG Working Papers 2015-22, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), Université Côte d'Azur, France.
  • Handle: RePEc:gre:wpaper:2015-22

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Besomi, Daniele, 1998. "Roy Harrod and the Oxford Economists' Research Group's Inquiry on Prices and Interest, 1936-39," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 534-562, October.
    2. Pettigrew, Andrew M., 1997. "What is a processual analysis?," Scandinavian Journal of Management, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 337-348, December.
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