The multifaceted nature of creativity has caused difficulty in developing a single definition for the term. Yet, the fact that no single, widely held definition for creativity exists has added to the complex nature of creativity research.For example, Welsch (1980) reviewed 22 definitions of creativity to find elements of agreement and disagreement of researchers within the field. Based on her research, Welsch (1980) suggested that creativity could be defined as "the process of generating unique products by transformation of existing products. These products, tangible or intangible, must be unique only to the creator, and must meet the criteria of purpose and value established by the creator” Creative process, creative persons, creative products as well as other relevant factors of the creative environment such as risk and knowledge are subsumed under the term creativity.
Over the past few decades, creativity has become a widely researched topic in both the academic and business environments. It is important for adolescents to be creative thinkers in order to keep up with today's accelerating social and technological developments (Fryer, 1996).Skidmore College must consider whether we are enrolling creative students and if we are developing the creative ability of our students. Programs that teach creative problem-solving skills help students to become successful adults who can question the accuracy of information and put information to constructive use (Todd & Shinzato, 1999).Student involvement in creative activities, such as artistic work and group brainstorms, has been found to reduce college drop out rates and to improve student motivation (Sautter, 1994).Creative thinking allows both young people and adults to “avoid boredom, resolve personal conflict, cope with increasing consumer choice, accept complexity and ambiguity, make independent judgments, use leisure time constructively, and adjust to the rapid development of new knowledge” (Strom, 2000, p. 59).
For societies to prosper in the midst of rapid scientific and technological advancement, people need to be inventive and flexible (Cropley, 1992). Companies recognize the need for creative talent to develop original solutions to an increasing number of problems (Miller, 1987; Miller, 2000).Creativity has been declared essential for business's long-term survival (Robinson & Stern, 1997). An organization's ability to promote and guide creative thinking has been identified as one of business's greatest challenges in terms of both survival and profitability (Miller, 1987).
As explained by MacKinnon (1975), previous studies in psychology were focused on human behavior in attempt to establish the discipline as an empirical and experimental form of science. However, by the late 1930's, the development of a new type of psychology, academic psychology, created a new potential to study creative behavior (MacKinnon, 1975). In J.P. Guilford's presidential address to the American Psychology Association in 1950, the influential psychologist encouraged his colleagues to study creative capacity in the human mind. Guilford (1950) believed that creativity is a "pattern of traits that are characteristic of creative person."
The search for personality characteristics associated with creative achievement and activity has been conducted in. However, creativity in business education at the undergraduate level has been under researched. This is a critical gap in the literature considering the ever-growing importance of creativity and innovation in the business environment. An investigation of creativity formation within undergraduate business students is necessary and important to the ever-growing field of creativity research.
Tolerance of Ambiguity refers to the ability to perceive ambiguity in information and behavior in a neutral or open way. Individuals who possess a high tolerance for ambiguity tend to pay more attention to information, interpret more cues, cope more effectively with change, stress, and conflict. “Management and Business students are more likely to possess a lower tolerance of ambiguity than Studio Art students”Self-Monitoring refers to the ability to regulate one’s behavior to situational factors. High self monitors show considerable adaptability in their behavior depending on their surrounding environment, and are expected to demonstrate greater flexibility in adapting to leadership in changing situations. “Management and Business students are more likely to be high-self monitors than Studio Art students.” Learning Style: Converger, Diverger, Assimilator, AccommodatorRisk Taking: ability to handle risk comfortably Creativity experiment resulting in qualitativeAlternative Uses Test: assessment of creative ability through fluency and flexibility
Studio art: 14.6Business:13.4Group 24
The Tolerance of Ambiguity scale used to assess the extent to which individuals cope with incomplete, unstructured, and dynamic situation, showed only minute differences in the personalities of Studio Art and Business Management majors. Therefore, hypothesis one was not supported by the data. However, unexpectedly, the survey results showed large distinctions between male and female tolerance of ambiguous situations. For example, 50% of participants strongly agreed with the statement, "Often, the most interesting stimulating people are those who don't mind being different and original." Of those respondents, 11 were Studio Art majors and 11 were Management and Business majors. More interestingly, 17 were female, while only 8 were male.
The Self-Monitoring Scale had minor differences between majors, and therefore did not support the hypothesis statement. However, just as witnessed in the Tolerance of Ambiguity scale, there were significant differences between genders. In response to the statement, "I am not particularly good at making people like me," 83% of the survey participants disagreed and chose false. Of the 83%, 20 students were Management and Business majors while 24 were Studio Art majors. The more significant difference was in gender, with 27 female respondents versus 17 male respondents.
The Learning Style Inventory applies to the Skidmore curriculum more directly than the other survey questions, due to its unique focus on how Skidmore students’ best learn information. Consistently the survey participants suggested they learned best by doing and participating in activities. The five statements that students most identified with were, "When I learn I like to be doing things," "When I learn I like to see results from my work," "I learn by doing," I learn best from a chance to practice and try out," "When I learn I like to see results from my work," and "I learn best when I can try things out for myself." In response to the statement, "I learn by doing," which 64% agreed is the way he/she learns best, 17 respondents were Studio Art majors and 16 respondents were Management and Business majors. However, just as seen in the other scales, 21 of the respondents were female while only 12 were male.
The risk taking scale used suggested that, as a whole, the control group were moderate-risk takers. Hypothesis four was not supported because Studio Art students are not higher ranking risk takers than Management and Business students. Over 90% of the survey respondents replied false to the statement, "I'd rather not travel abroad," and more that 94% said "true" to the statement, "Making my own decisions is very important to me." Of the Studio Art survey participants, 1 is a low risk taker, 7 are cautious, 12 are moderate-risk takers, and 8 are high-risk takers. Of the Management and Business participants, 7 were cautious, 15 were moderate-risk takers, and 3 were high-risk takers.
The results of Guilford’s Alternative Uses Test (1967), which was used to test the fluency and flexibility of students enrolled in Management and Business and Studio Art courses, supported hypothesis five. On average, when working individually, both Studio Art and Management and Business students provided 13.4 possible uses for a brick and Studio Art students provided 14.6 possile uses for a brick. However, as previously speculated, the participants provided an average of 24 possible uses for a brick when working in groups.
As evident from the survey and experiment results, the Management and Business students and Studio Art students at Skidmore College are equally creative. However, the survey also indicated that Skidmore students create a greater number of ideas (fluency), and more diverse ideas (flexibility), when working in teams, rather than individually.
While the results suggest positive findings for Skidmore students’ creative abilities, much of the blame for a lack of creativity, and therefore innovation, can be traced to our traditional educational systems (Hughes, 1998). While some business schools have introduced creativity into their curriculum and research centers, it has not been the widespread trend that will be needed to supply companies with innovative leaders. According to De Souza Fleith (2000), there are multiple steps for fostering creative behaviors in the classroom, such as:These factors focus on the atmosphere, values, beliefs, and norms of an environment. Creativity in the classroom has been advocated as a critical success factor for students entering an increasingly diverse, rapidly changing, and competitive workplace (Palmer, 2000). The creative classroom offers various positive benefits, ranging from high student achievements to better learning skills (Palmer, 2000).
In conclusion, the hypothesies were not supported throughout the various survey scales, implying that both Studio Art and Management and Business students at Skidmore College have equally creative potential. Additionally, in accordance with the creativity experiment, Skidmore’s Management and Business and Studio Art students have more fluency and flexibility when working collaboratively than individually. Skidmore must continue to support and promote the creativity of its students across all disciplines in order to prepare them for success in the business environment post-college
Final thesis presentation by Sophie Cohen '10
Living Creative Thought Matters:An Exploration of Creativity within the Management and Business Departmentat Skidmore College<br />Sophie Cohen<br />Thesis Advisor: Laura Finnerty Paul<br />Department of Management and Business<br />2010<br />
What is Creativity?<br /> “Creativity is a purposeful activity, or set of activities, that produces valuable products, services, processes, or ideas that are better or new.” (Degraff & Lawrence, 2002)<br />Numerous definitions with vastly different meanings<br />Scholars have made an attempt to integrate the different theories and research on creativity to create a single definition<br />Person, process, or product<br />Something “new” at the core<br />
Importance of Creativity:Academic Perspective <br />reduce college drop out rates <br />improve student motivation<br />avoid boredom<br />resolve personal conflict<br />cope with increasing consumer choice<br />accept complexity and ambiguity<br />make independent judgments<br />use leisure time constructively<br />adjust to the rapid development of new knowledge<br />
Importance of Creativity:Business Perspective<br />Inventive and flexible<br />Original solutions to an increasing number of problems<br />Essential for business's long-term survival<br />One of business's greatest challenges in terms of both survival and profitability<br />
Existing Research on Creativity<br />Characteristics Associated with Creativity:<br />Creativity Formation:<br />Individual<br />Group<br />Organizational<br />Benefits of Creativity:<br />Academic<br />Economic<br />Societal<br />
More Research is Needed…<br /> While creativity measures have been conducted in many disciplines, undergraduate business departments have been under researched<br />Creativity in business education provides a creative environment that simulate those that students are likely to encounter post-college<br />Considering creativity is critical in nearly all aspect of business, creativity should be considered a crucial dimension of business courses <br />
Purpose of this Study<br /> "The concept of creativity itself points to a moment that does not yet exist — when something hidden will be revealed, a plan realized, a quandary resolved through an imaginative approach. Creativity threatens the status quo and so entails risk ” <br /> -Executive Summary of Skidmore’s Strategic Plan<br /> How can Skidmore College better prepare students for the business environment post-graduation?<br />Identify the character differences between Management and Business students and those studying Studio Art <br />Better recognize the creative talent within the Skidmore College business department<br />
Overview of Methodology<br />Survey resulting in quantitative research<br />Tolerance of Ambiguity<br />Self-Monitoring<br />Learning Style<br />Risk Taking<br />Creativity experiment resulting in qualitative research<br />Alternative Uses Test<br />
Method: Survey<br />55 undergraduate students at Skidmore College <br />20 Management and Business students<br />27 Studio Art students<br />6 Other<br />60% female, 40% male. <br />
Method: Creativity Experiment<br />42 undergraduate students at Skidmore College<br />8 groups of undergraduate students at Skidmore College<br />9 Studio Art students<br />33 Management and Business students<br />The gender of each student was not reported; however, future research should question if gender effects the results of the experiment. <br />
Results: Tolerance of Ambiguity<br />Hypothesis 1 not supported<br />Minor differences between Studio Art and Business Management majors<br />Significant distinctions between gender<br />
Results: Self Monitoring<br />Hypothesis 2 not supported<br />Minor differences between Studio Art and Management and Business students<br />Significant differences between genders. <br />
Results: Alternative Uses Test<br />Hypothesis 5 was supported<br />Individual: 13.4 possible uses for a brick<br />Group: 24 possible uses for a brick <br />
To Summarize<br />Management and Business students and Studio Art students at Skidmore College are equally creative.<br />Skidmore students create a greater number of ideas (fluency), and more diverse ideas (flexibility), when working in teams, rather than individually. <br />
Steps to Fostering Creativity in the Classroom<br /> The question we must ask ourselves as an institution is how can Skidmore College better foster creativity in the academic environment?<br />Allowing time for creative thinking<br />Rewarding creative ideas and products<br />Encouraging sensible risks<br />Allowing mistakes<br />Imagining other viewpoints<br />Encouraging explorations of the environment<br />Questioning assumptions<br />Refraining from evaluation or judging<br />Fostering cooperation rather than competition<br />Offering free rather than restricted choices<br />Encouraging dissent and diversity<br />
Conclusion<br />This study offers a perspective on creativity that can prove highly beneficial to the Skidmore community, particularly within the Management and Business department<br />Furthermore, this study addresses a significant gap in the scholarly literature on creativity<br />This exploration of creativity suggests that Skidmore’s business students are equally creative to other disciplines<br />Furthermore, this study suggests that Skidmore students are more successful when working in groups<br />