Organizational ingenuity: insights and overview
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The construction of creativity in organizations continues to puzzle scholars. Creativity is often associated with organizational spaces where rules and boundaries are weak to non-existent, and by the same token is considered to decline where they are strong and pervasive. This dichotomy, between organizational freedom and necessity, results in opposing images of creativity and its absence. On the one hand, we have romantic images of entrepreneurs asserting creativity by breaking rules and transcending boundaries and, on the other, institutionalized managers constrained by rules and prevented by boundaries from exercising creativity. The interplay of freedom and necessity in organizations, however, is more nuanced. Most organizational actors have to operate both within and through existing rules and boundaries to effect creative solutions to existing problems. To meet the challenge of the situation these actors develop a set of skills, social tactics, and mental orientation that express 'organizational ingenuity': the ability to create innovative solutions within structural constraints using limited resources and imaginative problem solving. This book is an exploration of the many facets of organizational ingenuity. When we extended an invitation for contributions to this volume we gave authors the definition of organizational ingenuity provided above, and a general framework that we challenged them to develop. The final selection more than lived up to our expectations: it is rich and varied, and yet relatively coherent.

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