On becoming creative: Basic theory with implications for the workplace

Bernard Nijstad, Carsten de Dreu

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Relative to other species, humans stand out for their capacity to create and innovate, both as individuals and as groups. There is less consensus about what helps or hinders creative performance. Abundant work indicates that creativity benefits from (trait- or state-based) intrinsic motivation, from positive affective states, and from approach orientation. But there is enough work also to argue that creativity benefits also, or even especially, from exogenous stressors, such as time pressure or social conflict, (trait- and state-based) anxiety and frustration, extrinsic rewards, and avoidance motivation. Here we review and integrate these and related literatures in order to achieve a nuanced understanding of what helps or, instead, hinders people in being creative. As starting point we use the dual pathway to creativity model, which proposes that creativity can be achieved by flexibly switching not only through different approaches, categories, and perspectives (cognitive flexibility) but also through focused, systematic, and sustained effort (cognitive persistence). This model further proposes that some situational and dispositional variables affect creativity because they enhance cognitive flexibility, whereas others. impact creativity primarily because they impact cognitive persistence. Accordingly, the model allows both benign situations and positive states, as well as more aversive settings and negative states, to promote creative performance. Our second goal here is to examine the extent to which basic principles and processes identified in this model, and the research base on which it builds, can be used to understand and predict creative performance in work settings. We specifically focus on three aspects of work and organizational behavior that have already received quite a lot of attention in the research literatures, and for which good information is therefore available: employee affect, work-related constraints and opportunities, and cultural norms and practices. Throughout, we explore how workplace design and leadership can assist in reducing barriers to creative performance and/or boost employee creativity.
Originele taal-2English
TitelHandbook of competence and motivation
SubtitelTheory and application
RedacteurenAndrew J. Elliot, Carol S. Dweck, David S. Yeager
Plaats van productieNew York
UitgeverijGuilford Press
Hoofdstuk19
Pagina's353-369
Aantal pagina's17
Uitgave2
ISBN van elektronische versie9781462529629
ISBN van geprinte versie9871462529605
StatusPublished - 2017

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