Understanding acts of creativity: an Examination of the Creative Process through three different conceptual lenses

Gerben Tolkamp

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

466 Downloads (Pure)


To stay competitive, organizations must utilize employees’ creative output. A minimum requirement is that employees actually engage in a creative process involving specific creative activities. Although this creative process is critical for producing creative output, scientific understanding of it is still limited. In this dissertation, we examined when people engage in (what type of) creative processes, in what order, and what the consequences are for creative output.
Firstly, we examined the relation between work effort and creative process engagement. We found that creative process engagement takes energy, and that a lack of energy makes engaging in the creative process less attractive for employees. Secondly, we examined whether specific creative-process activities (defining problems, searching information, and generating ideas) need different motivators, and have different effects on creative output. We found that job autonomy especially motivated employees to define problems and search for information. In contrast, employees who felt their leaders expected them to be creative were especially motivated to generate ideas. Furthermore, we found that generating ideas is important for both radical and incremental creative output, but that radical creativity additionally requires employees to define problems. Thirdly, we wanted to understand whether being creative requires the various activities to follow each-other in an ordered way, or in a more dynamic and iterative way. Therefore, we examined the creative process over the course of a creative task. We found that a more dynamic creative process was associated with creative products that were more novel.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Nijstad, Bernard, Supervisor
  • Vriend, Tim, Co-supervisor
  • Verwaeren, Bart, Co-supervisor
Award date4-Jul-2022
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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