Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Oana Branzei


The pressures of continuous innovation in response to shorter product lifecycles and changing customer tastes or requirements create a constant challenge for firms expected to deliver predictable growth. Yet, the creativity needed for new product development projects often emerges in unpredictable and non-linear ways. Projects such as software development, new drug exploration, and filmmaking are knowledge-intensive undertakings where creativity is not confined to the conceptual stage of the project, but required for its duration. Different groups are often involved at different stages of the project and their creative contributions need to be conjunctive. Consequently, formal controls are required to coordinate their creative inputs.

My research explores how the competing tensions of creativity and control are balanced through coordinating mechanisms over time in large-scale creative collaborations (LSCCs). Given the long implicit function of the budget as a coordinating mechanism, it became the focal point of this exploration. My dissertation is focused on answering two related research questions. First, how are budgets used to accomplished coordination over time? Second, how are budgets used to mediate the tensions between creativity and control?

In this study, I used a qualitative approach to build new theory. My enquiry is situated in the film and television industry where creative aspirations must be continually balanced within the parameters of time and money. Using an in-depth, single case study design, I studied the coordinating practices of the crew of a dramatic television series production in ‘real time’ as they created and produced each script of the season. In the film and television industry, each product is a new creation that comes to fruition through the collaborative efforts of teams of artists, designers and specialized crafts people.