Unpacking 'ideas' in creative work: A multidisciplinary review

Mel Yingying Hua*, Sarah Harvey, Eric Rietzschel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
521 Downloads (Pure)


New ideas are central to a wide array of organizational phenomena and research that involve creativity and innovation. Yet, there is little consensus on what the concept of ‘ideas’ means, with a broad range of creative outputs being conceptualized as ideas. This fragmentation makes it challenging to compare studies and build a cumulative base of knowledge. To integrate different streams of organizational research, we reviewed papers across the creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship, design, knowledge creation, and network literatures. We propose a “wave-particle duality” framework of ideas to synthesize two distinct but complementary approaches to understanding and studying ideas. Our framework offers guidance on how to approach the study of ideas, reconciles apparent conflicts in the literature, and suggests opportunities for advancing our understanding of ideas in creative work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-656
Number of pages36
JournalAcademy of Management Annals
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul-2022

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