Absorbing external information: how team-level cohesion and friction influence the formulation of creative advertising

Huw O’Connor, Scott Koslow*, Mark Kilgour

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores mechanisms that influence the absorption of external information within the creative advertising development process. Consumer information, in the form of consumer research or evaluations of consumer responses, is presumed to be the building block of consumer insights for agencies seeking more effective communication with consumers. Successful agencies are presumed to have the capacity to absorb consumer insights and utilize them to develop effective advertising strategies. But consumer insights do not always translate seamlessly into a strategy dialogue. Absorbing and using external knowledge has costs beyond those of acquisition or simply employing “creative” people. Agencies, through their sociocognitive processes, have to actively identify useful information, make it accessible to the organization, and then exploit it to develop creative ideas. A study is presented on how group dynamics influence knowledge absorption, which then shapes the emergence of creative ideas. Group cohesion and interpersonal friction are examined. Subjects include 184 advertising practitioners reporting on 548 campaigns. Results show that in some group settings effective absorption of external information occurs, which improves the creative quality of promotional campaigns. However, in other situations the work changes in character, shifting from more original to more appropriate, rather than improving overall creativity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-348
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Advertising
Issue number3
Early online date12 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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