Exploring the influence of entrepreneurial leadership on the context for creativity : the case of Åpent Bakeri
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- Master of Science 
BACKGROUND AND CASE SELECTION In the post-industrial society organisations are increasingly recognising ideas as their most valuable commodity and their employee’s creative potential as a huge resource. The creative economy links creative assets such as creative people in organisations to competitive advantage, by focusing how the creative industries influence the general economy. The aim of this thesis is to explore creativity outside the defined creative industries. In a preliminary interview the head of the Norwegian Union for Bakers and Confectioners (BKLF), Anders Vangen, described how revenues had been in decline in the Norwegian bakery industry, and how the only creative industrywide project1 had yielded few results. However, it was also revealed that in Oslo some of the Bakeries are successfully going back to the traditional craft baking - while still maintaining a modern image. These were being highly successful in an otherwise troubled industry. One of these is Åpent Bakeri, which is the case of this thesis. CREATIVITY AND ENTREPRENEURIAL LEADERSHIP The field of organisational creativity focuses on the contextual influences on creativity in organisations. Previous research has revolved around creative climates; the artificial level of organisational culture (McLean, 2005). This thesis takes a deeper dive into the creative context by also exploring the link between the organisational climate and culture. Leaders of organisations are often described as definers or givers of culture. Schein (1990, 2010) argues how entrepreneurial leaders can embed, articulate and reinforce their values in a culture through primary and secondary leadership mechanisms. By merging creativity theory and Schein’s (2010, 1990) mechanisms this thesis presents an analytical framework for examining entrepreneurial leadership’s influence on the context for creativity. Our research question is: How does Entrepreneurial Leadership Influence the Context for Creativity at Åpent Bakeri? The research is designed as an exploratory case study. Qualitative data is collected through in-depth, semi-structured interviews at all levels at Åpent Bakeri. The exploratory nature of our study allow us to piece together information, gaining a deeper understanding of creativity in Åpent Bakeri and how it is influenced by its entrepreneurial leadership. MAJOR FINDINGS The major findings of our research are that the entrepreneurs at Åpent Bakeri help facilitate a context for creativity through three main mechanisms. First, they facilitate communication through implementing a semi-flat hierarchy, building personal relationships with employees and designing a physical work environment conductive to communication and humour. Second, they encourage diversity through symbolising and recruiting people from different backgrounds and nationalities. Third, they motivate employees through inspirational role-modelling, challenge, and perceivable freedom; exercising control on what they believe is crucial for the success of Åpent Bakeri, while allowing employees to feel free in their day-to-day tasks at work. All through they cannot be accredited for everything that is creative at Åpent Bakeri, the entrepreneurs create a context where norms dictate that creative behaviour is allowed; sometimes even expected.
Masteroppgave (MSc) in Master of Science in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Handelshøyskolen BI, 2014