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Secrecy as Organizing Uncertainty in Creative Processes

Current Research Project of Prof. Dr. Jana Costas    

In this project we explore the role of organizational secrecy – the intentional concealment of information from actors by actors in organizations – in organizing uncertainty in creative processes. Empirical evidence suggests that organizational secrecy is an important way of dealing with different kinds of uncertainty in highly innovative organizations: in top-secret research labs, orchestrated secrecy-based marketing campaigns, and the prevention of information leakage through secrecy to name but a few examples. However, this empirical prevalence of secrecy as one key organizing principle in creative processes runs counter to the findings of current management research, which largely tends to stress the importance of knowledge- and information-sharing for fostering creativity, thus framing secrecy as a problem for creativity. In contrast, this project seeks to advance organizational research by empirically studying actual practices of secrecy as an organizing mechanism. Based on in-depth, comparative case studies, the project will explicate how, why and when secrecy matters for creative processes in organizations.  

The project is sponsored by the German Research Foundation and is part of the research group “Organized Creativity: Practices for Inducing and Coping with Uncertainty“ (FOR 2161). Click here for further information.

Logo Secrecy ©Lena i.A. Jana Costas