The aim of this paper is to explore the tensions and basis for conflict within relationships which embed and connect networked companies involved in the planning of advertising, with broader relevance for professional service organisations.Design/methodology/approach - Framed within a social network perspective, this interpretive study draws on twenty two depth interviews to discuss the emergence and consequences of conflict within relationships shared by advertising creatives, account managers, researchers and media planners located in Scotland. Findings - The paper identifies four dominant themes which contribute toward relational conflict: the intensity of involvement in advertising planning, the emergence of role ambiguity, cultural stereotyping and, conflicts of interest.Research limitations/implications - Originality/value - Provides a valuable antidote to studies reliant on dyadic client-agency perspectives. Adopting a network perspective, recognition of the importance of the multiple, simultaneous relationships involved in advertising planning. Offers a critical perspective on advertising relationships, considering the emergence, characteristics and consequences of tension and conflict inherent. Discussion reveals ongoing struggles for control over the process of advertising planning, considers the implications of overt and covert actions on perceptions of network trust. Provides a spectrum of outcomes, ranging from collaborative tension to intra-organisational conflict. Most relevant to academics and managers involved in professional services.
- social networks
- negative relationships