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Managing (in) the Trading Zone of Professional Innovation: Pressures and balancing acts in an architectural organization.


Presentation of Paper.

How is professional innovation in a creativity-based organization managed and to what effects for the creatives and the organization? We explore this question in the context of a leading Danish architectural firm that engaged in a professional innovation for user integration in architectural design.

The study draws on an ethnography during the time the innovation was initiated and implemented. It reveals three stages, in which the approaches, balancing acts and activities of management substantially differ:

  1. an initiation stage that establishes the innovation infrastructure
  2. a middle stage of cross-boundary experimentation in a project organization
  3. a stabilizing stage in which the experimentation outcome is elaborated and anchored in the organization as a new practice.


Our findings suggest that the management of professional innovation in creative organizations takes places in a continuously morphing trading zone that brings together different interests and knowledge domains, and entails balancing acts to adjust the innovation accordingly.

Page Manager: Carina Krantz|Last update: 2/25/2019
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