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Research report into creativity within large organisations. This is based on a review of the literature released within the last six years.

Research report into creativity within large organisations. This is based on a review of the literature released within the last six years.

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    Creativity report Creativity report Document Transcript

    • An investigation into strategies for increasing the creativity of employees within large organisations A research report presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Masters in Management at Massey University Graeme Kiyoto-Ward 2012
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research ReportAbstractThe purpose of this report is to identify strategies that leaders can employ to increase thecreativity of employees within large organisations. This report uses creativity literaturepublished since 2006 in order to identify what new information it can reveal about this topic.Three major areas were found that leaders could use to positively influence creativity. Thefirst of these are factors that affect individual employees and includes intrinsic motivation,autonomy, role identity, and psychological empowerment. Secondly social factors were alsoidentified as being important and these included the team environment, the degree to whichemployees shared knowledge, and the nature of employees’ social networks. The third ofthese areas found to be an influence on creativity is management styles and behaviours.These factors are combined into a framework that illustrates the key strategies forinfluencing creativity. What is also apparent as a result of this research is that many of theinfluencers of creativity are positive human factors that support or empower employees.This research also identifies that creativity has a higher reliance on social interactions andsocial environments than was initially expected. This report outlines some areas for furtherstudy. Some of this further study is the result of limitations found in the literature but someproposed areas of further study are specific new areas identified during the course of thisresearch. Finally, this report calls for further research to produce a simpler model that iseasier for leaders to deploy in their organisations. Page i
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research ReportTable of Contents1. Introduction ............................................................................................................................ 1 1.1. Background...................................................................................................................... 1 1.1.1. Innovation and Creativity ....................................................................................... 1 1.1.2. Definition of Creativity ........................................................................................... 2 1.1.3. Scope of this Research ............................................................................................. 3 1.2. Research Objective .......................................................................................................... 5 1.3. Report Structure .............................................................................................................. 5 1.4. Method ............................................................................................................................. 62. Literature Review ................................................................................................................... 8 2.1. Seminal Literature and Variables for Research ............................................................. 8 2.2. Individual Factors ......................................................................................................... 10 2.2.1. Introduction ........................................................................................................... 10 2.2.2. Intrinsic Motivation ............................................................................................... 10 2.2.3. Task Autonomy ..................................................................................................... 11 2.2.4. Role Identity ........................................................................................................... 13 2.2.5. Psychological Empowerment ............................................................................... 14 2.2.6. Other Individual Factors ....................................................................................... 15 2.3. Social Factors ................................................................................................................. 16 2.3.1. Introduction ........................................................................................................... 16 2.3.2. Social Networks ..................................................................................................... 16 2.3.3. Knowledge Sharing ............................................................................................... 18 2.3.4. Social Environment ............................................................................................... 20 2.4. Leadership Factors ........................................................................................................ 22 2.4.1. Introduction ........................................................................................................... 22 2.4.2. Leader Member Relationships .............................................................................. 22 2.4.3. Leadership Styles ................................................................................................... 25 2.4.4. Leader’s Decisions ................................................................................................. 283. Discussion ............................................................................................................................. 31 3.1. Framework of Strategies ............................................................................................... 31 3.2. The Importance of Positive Human Factors ................................................................ 34 3.3. The Importance of Social Factors ................................................................................. 34 3.4. Conclusion ..................................................................................................................... 354. Recommendations for Further Research ............................................................................ 36 4.1. Causality and Generalizability ..................................................................................... 36 4.2. Specific Areas of Further Research .............................................................................. 37 4.3. Simplified Frameworks................................................................................................. 385. References ............................................................................................................................. 416. Appendices ........................................................................................................................... 50 6.1. Journals Included in Initial Literature Search ............................................................. 50 Page ii
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Report1. Introduction1.1. Background1.1.1. Innovation and CreativityRapid changes in society and technology have created turbulent environments that requireorganisations to be able to adjust and adapt quickly. These changes in the environment areboth rapid and unexpected, requiring swift responses and changes in direction bybusinesses. This has created an intense and on-going interest in creativity and innovationwithin general and business literature (Barton, 2012; Gluckman, 2012; NZ slow to invest increativity, 2012; Robinson, 2010). A sample of some of the wide ranging changes in theenvironment that organisations have faced over the past decade are new and changingmarkets (Atsmon, Child, Dobbs, & Narasimhan, 2012; Economist, 2011), changingdemographics (Cumming, 2011), the impact of social media on corporate communications(Waters, Tindall, & Morton, 2010), and increasing prevalence of personal electronics such assmart phones (Doi, Howell, & Hirakawa, 2012). Because of this rapidly changingenvironment, creativity and innovation are often viewed as required capabilities withinmodern organisations to meet these challenges (Barsh, Capozzi, & Davidson, 2008; DiLiello& Houghton, 2008; Kanter, 2010). As another potential benefit for leaders, higher levels ofcreativity have also been credited with higher performance from employees (Gong, Huang,& Farh, 2009).Within academic research, creativity and innovation are viewed as related ideas with aslightly different focus and each has its own research traditions and seminal literature. Inorder to understand creativity in context, it is important to understand the nature ofinnovation. Innovation is focused on outputs and is generally viewed as the implementationof new ideas (Martins & Terblanche, 2003). The background and literature for innovationhas a basis in marketing and the seminal works by Crawford (1987) and Cooper (2001) focus Page 1
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Reporton the product development aspects of marketing. Features specific to innovation includegenerating an outcome that provides benefits (Crossan & Apaydin, 2010), and a process thatleads to some change (Baregheh, Rowley, & Sambrook, 2009). These definitions help todefine innovation’s role in organisations. Perhaps the best summary is that provided by Zienand Buckler who define innovation as “the whole spectrum of activities, from dreams tomarket introduction to maintenance” (1997, p. 276). Creativity exists at the dreams end ofthe innovation process and creativity can be considered a process within innovation(Damanpour & Aravind, 2011). To illustrate both the difference and the relationshipbetween creativity and innovation, an example of a creative idea is that people can build andmaintain a network of friends or acquaintances online, some examples of innovation areFacebook or LinkedIn.1.1.2. Definition of CreativityThe creativity-innovation dyad is a view that predominates in the study of organisationsand business but much of the early work on creativity came from the field of psychology.This early research was directed at creativity within individuals through investigation oftraits of creative people or research into individuals working in creative fields such as artistsand scientists (Shalley & Zhou, 2008). The focus of this report is management and as suchwill not investigate the psychology-centric field of creativity though it is important for thereader to understand that the total field of research into creativity is wider than is coveredby this paper.The definition of creativity is not straightforward particularly when trying to identify whatto include within the scope of this report. Research on creativity within organisationalsettings started to develop in the 1980s when researchers such as Amabile andCzikszentmihalyi started to investigate the influence of the environment on individuals’creativity (Shalley & Zhou, 2008). A common theme for defining creativity that stretches Page 2
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Reportback to this period is the generation of ideas with particular attributes such as novelty ororiginality (Runco & Jaeger, 2012). Other researchers have proposed additional attributesthat will be excluded for the purpose of this study, for example the attributes of ideas being‘put to use’ (Prabhu, Sutton, & Sauser, 2008) or generating surprise (Runco & Jaeger, 2012).Surprise is difficult variable to operationalize and rarely appears in the literature and thisreport views ideas being put into use as being part of innovation. Rather than expectingideas to be put to use, the definition of creativity for the purposes of this research will onlyrequire that ideas be useable (Amabile, 1996; Martins & Terblanche, 2003). In summary,creativity occurs when an idea has been created that could be used, whether or not it is used– this allows the definition to exclude ideas that have no value. This is a commonly heldview as Amabile’s definition of creativity is the most widely adopted and most frequentlycited in the period since 2006 (Gutnick, Walter, Nijstad, & De Dreu, 2012; Rego, Machado,Leal, & Cunha, 2009; Sun, Zhang, Qi, & Chen, 2012; A. Zhang, Tsui, & Wang, 2011; X. Zhang& Bartol, 2010; Zhou, Shin, & Cannella, 2008). This report therefore employs this definitionin that “creativity is the production of novel and useful ideas in any domain” (Amabile,1996, p. 396).1.1.3. Scope of this ResearchThis study will focus on creativity within large organisations. A number of studies havefound that large organisations innovate more effectively than smaller organisations(Camisón-Zornoza, Lapiedra-Alcamí, Segarra-Ciprés, & Boronat-Navarro, 2004;Damanpour, 1992; Haveman, 1993) either as result of having additional resources(Haveman, 1993) or better ability to absorb losses as a result of failed attempts at innovation(Camisón-Zornoza et al., 2004). The advantage that large organisations have for innovationappears to be in the area of implementation of ideas rather than the creation of those ideas(Damanpour, 1992). If large organisations have strengths in the implementation ofinnovations, then understanding how to make these organisations better generators of ideas Page 3
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Reportis of value to leaders of these organisations. This makes understanding how to raisecreativity within large organisations a worthy area of study.Defining large organisations for a creativity study is difficult. Although definitions of smalland medium enterprises – and by exclusion, large organisations – exist, most definitions arebased on number of employees (Ayyagari, Beck, & Demirguc-Kunt, 2007). This study hasavoided using this definition as a review of creativity literature found few examples wherethe number of employees was included as an operationalized variable but many cases whereteam attributes were operationalized as variables. This report requires that an organisationbe large enough to have specific teams undertaking specific functions to qualify as a largeorganisation. Teams, in this report, are defined as a group of employees engaged on somecommon task. Creativity within teams is of interest to managers as it has been found thatraising the creativity of employees within a team can improve the financial performance ofthat team (Sung & Choi, 2012).A second implication of basing the scope of this study around large organisations is theexistence of a management structure. The leaders within these structures are the means forcommunicating and coordinating changes across the organisation. If the organisation islooking to undertake an initiative to change or improve in some way, the actions orinactions of the leaders are important to the success of that initiative. This report assumesthat creativity exists within organisations and that the right initiatives or strategies canconvert this potential creativity into expressed ideas (Xu & Rickards, 2007). This studytherefore looks for strategies that leaders within an organisation can use to enhance thelevels of creative output from teams and individuals within that organisation. As a resultthis report will not examine factors that are difficult for managers to influence such as thepersonality traits of employees. Page 4
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research ReportThe scope of this report is creativity literature published from 2006 onwards. This period isof interest because of the growth of creativity research appearing from across the globe witha rise in research published articles from as far afield as Israel, China, Taiwan, Romania,Turkey as well as Europe and the United States. This period was also selected to providefive full years of research and to determine whether a framework extracted from this periodwould provide any new insights. Selecting a recent cut-off date provides some distance fromearlier frameworks and will provide a valuable insight into how recent research intocreativity may differ from older seminal works.1.2. Research ObjectiveThis report aims to identify strategies that are available to leaders in large organisations whomay be looking to increase the creative output of their employees. The specific question thatthis research will answer is: “What does the literature from 2006 identify as key strategies that leaders in large organisations can use to raise the creativity of employees”1.3. Report StructureThis report will consist of several sections starting with a literature review. This literaturereview will start with a brief overview of seminal articles to provide a view of what hascome before and to identify existing frameworks. The second part of the literature reviewwill be in three parts. The first of these will examine factors that influence creativity at anindividual level followed by a section that investigates social influencers of creativity beforefinally reviewing the role of leaders. The final sections of this report will draw conclusionsfrom this review to develop a framework of strategies available for leaders, before proposingareas for further study. Page 5
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Report1.4. MethodThe first step undertaken for the literature review was a search through key journalscontaining articles related to creativity in the period of interest. The initial set of journalswere those identified by James and Drown (2011) in their review of creativity. All thesejournals were searched with the exception of Organizational Science which could not beaccessed from the Massey Library – the full list of initial journals is listed in Appendix One.The title and abstract of each article published since January 2006 was checked and assessedfor its suitability to be included in this research. This activity was undertaken to ensure thatarticles not directly related to the topic could be eliminated such as those on education,children, creative arts, or those specifically focused on innovation. This provided a list of 90articles.An additional search both checked the completeness of this list and supplemented it byfinding additional articles. This additional search was undertaken using the databasesBusiness Source Complete and Web of Knowledge where articles were searched for by topic. Thesearch terms used were ‘creativity’ in the title along with ‘manager’ OR ‘leader’ and ‘team’OR ‘organization’ OR ‘employee’ in any fields with a search period starting January 2006.Additional filters were applied to reduce the article set to those scholarly articles, in English,where the full text was available in the academic areas of business studies or social science.The resulting search identified another 24 articles coming from journals outside the core setlisted above. During the course of the literature review, one article by Hunter, Bedell &Mumford (2007) identified the Journal of Creative Behaviour and R&D Management asadditional journals of interest and a search of these generated an additional seven articles. Page 6
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research ReportThis final set of articles were then reviewed and further sorted into two sets. The first set ofarticles is those involving primary research using qualitative methods. This group consistsof surveys and experiments that test hypotheses and totalled 60 articles. These provide thebasis for this research as these identify and test factors that that can influence employeecreativity. The remaining articles were reviewed to identify those that could support thisresearch or provide context. Not all articles were found to be relevant and therefore somehave not been included in this report. Page 7
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Report2. Literature Review2.1. Seminal Literature and Variables for ResearchThe articles identified through the search of the literature were reviewed for themes andmany articles were found to reference two seminal frameworks for explaining creativity inorganisations. These are the componential model of organisational creativity from Amabile(1996) and the interactionist model of organisational creativity proposed by Woodman,Sawyer and Griffin (1993). These provide a reference point for understanding creativitywithin organisations and are described in brief.The componential model proposes that creativity is the result of a combined set ofindividual and organisational factors. The individual factors within the model are creativethinking skills, individual expertise, and motivation. Creative thinking skills are thetechniques that individuals can employ to think creativity such as looking at problems fromdifferent perspectives or using brainstorming sessions. Individual expertise consists of thecollective knowledge that an individual has in a given area. Motivation represents thedrivers that encourage employees to be creative. It is this motivation that Amabile views asthe most important of the three components for managers because it is the easiest of thefactors for managers to influence (Amabile, 1996). The organisational factors areorganisational motivation to innovate, resources and management practices. These arebroad headings within which there are a number of elements many of which wererecognisable as variables of study in subsequent literature. As an example, withinmanagement practices, such elements as autonomy, leaders’ support for creativity, and cleargoals appear in both the componential model and the creativity research in the period underreview. Perhaps the most important contribution of this model is recognition that factorsoutside the individual affect their creativity. Page 8
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research ReportThe interactionist model proposes that the organisational creativity is based on theinteractions between three layers within an organisation, these layers being individuals,groups (or teams) and the overall organisation. The model then identifies that the interactionbetween these layers generates creative behaviours in employees and a creative situation.This creative situation consists of a set of creativity enhancers and constraints such aswhether the social environment is accepting of new ideas and the degree to which leaderssupport creativity. It is the interaction between the creative behaviours and situation thatdetermines the creative output of the organisation (Woodman et al., 1993). Like thecomponential model, the interactionist model identifies characteristics within each of themain layers that determine how these influence individual creativity. At an individual level,many of these characteristics are recognisable within the componential model, for examplecognitive ability closely matches creativity thinking skills, knowledge aligns with expertise,and both include intrinsic motivation. The match is initially less immediately apparent at thegroup or organisational level though detailed analysis reveals many of the samecharacteristics appear as both models recognise reward, resources, and leadership style asinfluencers of creativity. The key contribution of the interactionist model is to clearlyseparate out the items that affect creativity into a series of layers, an approach that thisreport employs.What these seminal models both provide is a framework that identifies the importance offactors outside the individual influences their creativity. These frameworks provided thebase categories that were used when reviewing the literature when preparing this report.The componential model supplied the concept of management practices, which for thepurposes of this research has been classified as leadership factors. The interactionist modelprovided group and organisational factors. Both recognised that factors exist at theindividual level. The review of the literature since 2006 modified these overarchingcategories. Organisational factors were eliminated as a category as items were found to fit Page 9
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Reportwithin other categories or be unique to individual studies and therefore difficult to drawconclusions from. Group factors were modified to become the category that contained socialfactors as this was a better fit with the information found in the literature. The categorycontaining individual factors was retained due to the amount of information gained fromthe literature. The final categories that are employed by this report to categorise influencersof creativity are individual factors, social factors and leadership factors.2.2. Individual Factors2.2.1. IntroductionFor the purposes of this research, individual factors are those factors that uniquely affecteach individual employee’s ability or willingness to be creative. Individual factors arerepresented in 49 of the 60 studies, a high frequency which reflects the highly individualnature of creativity. The high count of studies examining individual factors is in part due tothe frequency with which individual creativity is used as the dependent variable of study –appearing in 42 instances. This section of the report examines intrinsic motivation, roleautonomy, job role, and psychological empowerment before commenting on otherindividual factors.2.2.2. Intrinsic MotivationEmployee motivation to be creative is included in the componential model as one of thethree main individual factors influencing creativity and so it is not surprising that it appearsin the recent literature. The componential model defines two types of motivation, intrinsicand extrinsic (Amabile & Mueller, 2008). Intrinsic motivation is the motivation that a personderives from a task based on an inherent interest in a task or the enjoyment obtained fromperforming the task (Prabhu et al., 2008). Where an employee is intrinsically motivated, therewards are entirely internal to the person performing the task and may not be obvious to Page 10
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Reportoutside observers (Coelho, Augusto, & Lages, 2011). For example, an employee may have aninterest in a particular task and be motivated by what they learn from doing the task – themotivation may be high but the motivation invisible to an outside observer. Extrinsicmotivation (the application of rewards from external parties (Cooper & Jayatilaka, 2006))and obligation motivation (an employee’s feelings of reciprocity towards a manager (Cooper& Jayatilaka, 2006)) will be examined later under leader-member relationships. Of the typesof motivation identified, intrinsic motivation is accepted as having the strongest influence oncreativity (X. Zhang & Bartol, 2010).There have been a number of studies within the period covered by this research and thesehave almost all reconfirmed the positive link between intrinsic motivation and creativity(Coelho et al., 2011; Cooper & Jayatilaka, 2006; X. Zhang & Bartol, 2010). The one study thatdid not fully confirm the link found that in one test of three (an experiment) the linkbetween intrinsic motivation and creativity approached but did not exceed the statisticalsignificance threshold required by the study (Eisenberger & Aselage, 2009). Despite thissingle outlier, this report concludes that intrinsic motivation positively influences creativity.However, because intrinsic motivation is something that is internal and unique to individualemployees and is difficult to observe, understanding that it influences creativity is notenough. Leaders need to understand what factors may affect an employee’s intrinsicmotivation and therefore their creativity.2.2.3. Task AutonomySince intrinsic motivation represents an employee’s interest in a task, making changes to thetask will affect the employee’s intrinsic motivation. The nature of the task is therefore amechanism that leaders can use to affect intrinsic motivation. Task autonomy is one taskcharacteristic that research has proved has a positive influence on intrinsic motivation. asemployees are more intrinsically motivated by work that they initiate and manage Page 11
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Reportthemselves or when working in teams that are supportive of autonomy (Eisenberger &Aselage, 2009; Liu, Chen, & Yao, 2011). This positive link between autonomy and intrinsicmotivation exists in part because it allows employees to perform tasks in ways that moresuit their personal preferences (Mathisen, 2011). In addition, employees who have moreautonomy feel greater responsibility for their roles (Volmer, Spurk, & Niessen, 2012) whichin turn gives the employee a greater feeling that the task has meaning, something which alsopositively influences intrinsic motivation (X. Zhang & Bartol, 2010). Providing jobautonomy is recommended as one way of improving intrinsic motivation and the resultingcreative output from employees but represents only one job characteristic of many (Coelho& Augusto, 2010; Tsaur, Yen, & Yang, 2011).Autonomy has potential limits to how much it can positively influence creativity. There isthe risk that providing autonomy removes an inhibitor to intrinsic motivation rather thangenerating an increase in employee’s intrinsic motivation. Lack of autonomy decreasesintrinsic motivation as it limits the options that employees have to complete tasks (Volmer etal., 2012). Because many of the surveys undertaken in the period are point-in-time, causalityis a frequently cited research limitation meaning that the direction of the relationship is notconfirmed (Coelho et al., 2011; Mathisen, 2011). If the effect of autonomy on intrinsicmotivation is due to removing an inhibitor then there will be limits to how much autonomycan increase intrinsic motivation and therefore creativity. This is because once the inhibitingfactors are fully removed then providing further autonomy will not promote morecreativity. This argument can be supported by looking at the effect that ambiguity has onintrinsic motivation. Autonomy represents freedom for the employee and ambiguityrepresents more extreme autonomy as it is freedom without direction. Ambiguity isdetrimental to both intrinsic motivation and creativity as employees are unable tounderstand the required standards they need to meet, or even the scope of their assignment(Coelho et al., 2011). The uncertainty and stress caused by this means employees are unable Page 12
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Reportto fully engage with their work affecting their intrinsic motivation (Binyamin & Carmeli,2010). This indicates a potential curvilinear relationship between autonomy and intrinsicmotivation and therefore creativity, and assumes there is an optimal level of autonomy. Thisis something that has not been tested in creativity research though a curvilinear relationshiphas been proved between autonomy and innovation (Gebert, Boerner, & Lanwehr, 2003). Asmentioned, innovation and creativity are different concepts but they are related enough thata proved curvilinear relationship between autonomy and innovation should indicate furtherresearch is required to confirm whether the same relationship exists between autonomy andcreativity.2.2.4. Role IdentityAssigning employees into roles that have a creative identity is another mechanism availableto leaders looking to increase creative output. Role identity describes the situation in whichan employee in a given role acts in accordance with the expectations of that role to fulfilsocial and personal expectations (A. Wang & Cheng, 2010). Placing employees into roles thathave a creative expectation increase both an employee’s self-expectations for creativity andcreative output (Carmeli & Schaubroeck, 2007; Farmer, Tierney, & Kung-McIntyre, 2003).This approach is similar to job autonomy in that it reflects matching individual employees toa specific role to enhance creative behaviours.There are two views to how creative role identity operates, one of these being through theexpectations of the leaders, the other through the nature of the role. The simplestexplanation is that when leaders assign a person to a creative role this sets a creativeexpectation. This is known as the Pygmalion effect which is assumes that if “one expectsmore one gets more” (Carmeli & Schaubroeck, 2007, p. 37). There may be more than anassumption of creativity however, as the process of assigning a person to a role mayinfluence the degree to which the leader is showing support for creativity or prepared to Page 13
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Reportaccept risk. If the leader creates the perception that risk will be more tolerated then this canencourage increased creativity. An employee’ willingness to take risks has been found topositively influence their creativity (Dewett, 2006) and the desire to avoid risk detrimental tocreativity (Hirst, Van Knippenberg, Chen, & Sacramento, 2011). The alternative view is thatit is the requirements of the role that influences employee creativity. Those tasks that have ahigher expectation of creativity are those that may be less routine, less structured, and morechallenging (Mathisen, 2011).These two views are not mutually exclusive however and it is likely that context plays a partin which of these factors is most significant in a given situation. The research within thescope of this project does not provide sufficient evidence to explain this in further detail.What is clear however is that there are a number of ways that role identity can influencecreativity of the person assigned to a role and therefore provides a way for leaders toincrease the creativity of employees.2.2.5. Psychological EmpowermentStudies into psychological empowerment provide further information about factors that areimportant to employees and that can enhance creativity. Psychological empowerment isdefined as a combination of four elements, competence, task meaning, task significance andself-determination (Sun et al., 2012). As a collective factor this has been found to promotecreativity (Gumusluoglu & Ilsev, 2009). Self-determination has already been addressedunder the topic of autonomy so will not be examined further in this section. This section willfocus on task meaning and task significance. There is insufficient coverage of competencewithin the literature published since 2006 to draw any conclusions therefore it will not becovered by this report. The research into task meaning and task significance is less extensivethan for other factors previously covered such as autonomy or role identity but enoughinformation exists to identify a positive influence on creativity. Page 14
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research ReportMeaningfulness of a task is when an employee perceives the work “to be purposeful,engaging and significant” (Cohen-Meitar, Carmeli, & Waldman, 2009, p. 361) and has beenfound to positively influence both intrinsic motivation (X. Zhang & Bartol, 2010) andcreativity (Cohen-Meitar et al., 2009). Task significance is the extent to which a role is able tomake a discernible difference to either the organisation or others within it (Coelho &Augusto, 2010). When examined as an independent variable the relationship between tasksignificance and creativity was not supported in one study (Coelho & Augusto, 2010) butwas partially supported in another (Tsaur et al., 2011). Those roles in which the significancewas high and feedback from performing those roles was clear tended to be more creative. Inthe case of the study by Tsaur et al (2011), tour operators who travelled with customers, hada major impact on their experience, and would be on hand to receive immediate feedbackfrom their decisions, tended to exhibit higher creativity.Tasks perceived by employees to be engaging and significant to the employees performingthem promote creative responses. In contrast tasks perceived to be of significance to theorganisation have the potential to influence creativity though more research isrecommended to further clarify the conditions under which task significance and creativityare linked. Increasing psychological empowerment in general provides an additionalstrategy for encouraging creative outputs from employees as well as having a positive effecton intrinsic motivation (X. Zhang & Bartol, 2010).2.2.6. Other Individual FactorsThe literature since 2006 has covered a broad range of individual factors and not all of theseare included in this report due to space constraints. One reason for excluding items from thisreport is because the factors have been deemed too specific to individuals and thereforedifficult for leaders to influence. Examples of such these include extraversion, neuroticism, Page 15
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Reportconscientiousness, and openness to experience each of which has potential impact oncreativity (Baer, Oldham, Jacobsohn, & Hollingshead, 2008; Schilpzand, Herold, & Shalley,2011; Y. Yang & Wang, 2010). The second reason for excluding some individual factors isthey are highly specific and confined to individual studies and therefore there is not thebody of research to provide significant confirmation that these should be considered a keystrategy for increasing creativity. Examples of these are need for power (Hon & Leung, 2011)and polychromic tendencies – a person’s inclination to multitask (Chong & Ma, 2010).Although not examined directly in this report, it is important for leaders to understand thatthere are a wide range of additional factors that exist as traits and behaviours withinindividual employees that have the capability to influence creativity. This is an indicator ofthe complex nature of understanding how to influence creativity.2.3. Social Factors2.3.1. IntroductionOne source of creativity is the combining of ideas from different people. Creativity thereforeis as much about the mixing of ideas as the generation of completely new ideas (Hargadon,2008). This coming together of ideas underpins the social aspects of creativity throughpeople’s access to different ideas, willingness to share these ideas, and support for creativity.For the purposes of this paper, social factors encompass those influencers on creativity thatstem from the social environment or social interactions between employees.2.3.2. Social NetworksSocial network are personal contacts that each individual has both within and outside theorganisation. There are a number of dimensions that define social networks – thesedimensions are the strength of the ties in the network, the number of ties, and the diversityof the network (Baer, 2010). Network strength indicates the closeness of the two individuals Page 16
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Reportwho form each branch of the network, stronger ties indicating more frequent contact andhigher levels of caring or concern between the individuals (Perry-Smith & Shalley, 2003).The strength of ties is important to creativity researchers because individuals with strongties are assumed to be individuals who form part of the same social circle whereas weak tiesare more likely to represent acquaintances that have less in common. The importance ofweak ties for creativity is because they “may provide more novel, diverse, and non-redundant information” (Zhou, Shin, Brass, Choi, & Zhang, 2009, p. 1545). The number ofties represents the number of people an individual has access to. Diversity of ties providesaccess to different information from different groups providing access to a range ofknowledge. Diversity of ties is important as large number of ties to a small number ofgroups may not provide the amount of new information required to promote creativity(Baer, 2010).Having network ties outside a project team has been found to increase the creativity (Chen,Chang, & Hung, 2008) though weak ties would seem to be more important as strong tienetworks outside a team do not appear to have a significant impact on creativity eithernegatively (Zhou et al., 2009) or positively (Chen, 2009). Detailed examination of networkslooking at the combination of the dimensions or network size, strength and diversity, hasconfirmed the size of the weak tie network increases creativity (Zhou et al., 2009). Thisincrease in creativity is not linear as is there is a limit of around 150 connections that aperson can meaningfully maintain (Hill & Dunbar, 2003). After this point, meaningfulinformation exchange becomes limited and therefore creative output decreases (Zhou et al.,2009).The fact that network size and diversity both influence employee creativity has importantconsiderations for leaders as they need to find ways for employees to create and maintainthese networks. This explains why some companies create joint meeting spaces within their Page 17
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Reportorganisations to encourage the mingling of people. Leaders are also encouraged to ensurethat the social side of work is not forgotten, whether this be through informal activities suchas team sports (Zhou et al., 2009) or formal activities such as training programmes orconferences (Baer, 2010).2.3.3. Knowledge SharingResearch into social networks examines the potential pool of knowledge available to anemployee through the reach of an employee’s connections (network size), and theaccessibility of those connections (network strength) but those studies have not examinedthe degree to which knowledge sharing actually occurs within those networks. The degreeto which the sharing of knowledge influences creativity has been the focus of a number ofseparate studies.Both the componential and interactionist models from the seminal literature identify theimportance of knowledge in the creative process. Therefore it would be expected that thesharing of knowledge would have a direct and positive effect on creativity. This assumptionis not fully supported in the literature since 2006 however. One study in the period hasindeed concluded that there is a direct link between knowledge sharing and increasedcreativity (Schepers & Berg, 2007). A second study tested the direct link between knowledgesharing and employee creativity and found that this did not exist. This second study insteadfound that knowledge sharing influenced creativity through a mediating variable of trust(Gong, Cheung, Wang, & Huang, 2012). Further studies have identified that knowledgesharing operates by mediating between a variety of other mediating factors such as thepsychological safety (Kessel, Kratzer, & Schultz, 2012) or various leadership styles (Sung &Choi, 2012; A. Zhang et al., 2011). The link between knowledge sharing is positive butindirect. Page 18
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research ReportIn order to understand why there is an apparent indirect link between something asfundamental as knowledge sharing and creativity requires an understanding of the potentialsocial costs of sharing knowledge. For employees there is a dilemma when sharingknowledge as this may provide a benefit to the group but come at a perceived cost to theindividual. This perceived cost can be high particularly if the employee views theknowledge as a scarce resource and something that could provide them benefits such asincreased status or security (Gagné, 2009; A. Zhang et al., 2011). This would explain thethree-way link between trust, knowledge sharing and creativity found by Gong et al. (2012)as trust creates an environment in which lowers the perceived cost of sharing knowledge.The explanation of the link between transformational leadership, knowledge sharing andcreativity is very similar. Transformational leadership encourages employees to focus on“collective outcomes” (Shin & Zhou, 2007, p. 1710) therefore increasing the perceivedbenefits in sharing knowledge compared with the perceived cost. In a manner similar totrust, transformational leadership reduces the effect of the knowledge sharing dilemma andhas been found to increase creativity by increasing the sharing of knowledge (A. Zhang etal., 2011).There is also a link between psychological safety and increased knowledge sharing in a waythat that supports increased creativity. Psychological safety represents the “shared beliefthat team members are safe to speak up” (Huang & Jiang, 2012, p. 175). This safety createsenvironments where knowledge sharing can occur more freely and it has been observed thatit increases creative performance (Kessel et al., 2012). This starts to indicate the effect that theteam environment can have on creativity, something that will be covered in the next section.Improved knowledge sharing as a strategy for improving creativity though this strategycannot be deployed in isolation. There are important links between knowledge sharing and Page 19
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Reportsocial networks as the source of new ideas and also between knowledge sharing and socialenvironments as potential inhibitors of expression of these ideas.2.3.4. Social EnvironmentThe environment within a team is an important contributor to knowledge sharing but alsoaffects the creative efficacy within the team (Schepers & Berg, 2007). Teams create socialenvironments that define how members relate to each other and the literature identifies thisas team-member exchange (TMX) (Munoz-Doyague & Nieto, 2012). These intra-teamrelationships have been found to positively influence creativity within the team (Barczak,Lassk, & Mulki, 2010; Chen et al., 2008; Munoz-Doyague & Nieto, 2012). This is because itincreases the willingness of members of the team to assist each other, share ideas andprovide feedback (Coelho et al., 2011; Munoz-Doyague & Nieto, 2012). The willingness ofone party to provide feedback however does not necessarily translate into a willingness ofanother to receive it. Feedback requires an environment of trust to be effective and thisenvironment of trust is important as the generation of creative ideas does carry risk. Novelideas are not always accepted or successful and can carry a perceived career or esteem riskfor employees (Kark & Carmeli, 2009) nor are they always welcomed (Mueller, Melwani, &Goncalo, 2011).The treatment of risk represents another social factor that can impact creativity within anorganisation as employees who are willing to take risks are more creative (Dewett, 2006) andemployees who tend to avoid risk are less creative (Hirst et al., 2011). To be creative,employees need to work in a social environment that provides a sense of psychologicalsafety where they can provide ideas to the group without fear of negative consequences(Palanski & Vogelgesang, 2011). A sense of psychological safety can be developed throughclear expectations and procedures that provide members of a team with a common Page 20
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Reportunderstanding of what is accepted and expected. This reduces ambiguity which isdetrimental to both intrinsic motivation and creativity (Coelho et al., 2011).The findings that team relationships improve creativity and that risk reduces creativity havenot been universally supported. One study found a negative relationship between co-workerrelationships and creativity. The authors speculated that this surprising finding couldrepresent employees avoiding novel ideas in order to maintain relationships with co-workers (Coelho et al., 2011). Another study examining the relationship between risk andcreativity revealed that people will exhibit more creativity when working in an environmentwhere the consequences of failure to generate innovative ideas are higher, an apparentlypositive response to increased risk (Simmons & Ren, 2009). This study differed from othersstudies however in that it examined situations in which reduced creativity itself wasperceived to increase risk, whereas the remaining studies were examining the risk from theacceptance of ideas. These two studies suggest that creativity is the result of multiple factorsand the complex interactions between these factors means that studies may generateapparently inconsistent results depending on the nature of the workplace being studied orhow the research is defined.The environment within a team is an important factor that affects the creativity ofindividuals but the relationship between the social environment and creativity is a complexone. At the simplest level, the nature of interactions between team members, the degree ofrisk acceptance, and the levels of trust do empower individuals to be more creative (Chong& Ma, 2010) but has been seen further factors such as risk and the degree of knowledgesharing are also important considerations. For leaders, the social environment becomesanother factor to consider in the search for creativity. Page 21
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Report2.4. Leadership Factors2.4.1. IntroductionThe actions of leaders have a significant impact on the lives of employees within anorganisation and this impact extends to employee creativity. This section examinesleadership factors to identify how the relationship, behaviours, and decisions of leadersaffect employee creativity. It is important to note that even though they will be treatedindividually these leadership factors are strongly interrelated. A leader’s style will influencetheir relationships with the team, and a leader’s relationships with employees can affecttheir decisions.2.4.2. Leader Member RelationshipsThe most prevalent factor found in the literature examines the relationship between theleader and employees – commonly referred to as leader-member exchange (LMX). LMX isdefined as the quality of the interpersonal relationships between a leader and individualemployees (Munoz-Doyague & Nieto, 2012). Relationships between leaders and individualstaff develop as a result of interactions over time and these relationships are two-way – theactions of both the leader and the employee contribute to the relationship (Volmer et al.,2012). Although a two-way relationship, LMX has been included in the section looking atleadership factors as the leader has more power than the employee in the relationship, andbecause the employees within a team have individual exchange relationships with the sameleader.The influence of LMX relationships is well studied and the research since 2006 has identifiedthat high quality LMX relationships have a positive influence on the creativity of individualswithin a team (Mathisen, 2011; Munoz-Doyague & Nieto, 2012; Volmer et al., 2012). LMX is abroad concept covering such elements as mutual trust, support, autonomy and the latitudeto make decisions (Mathisen, 2011; Munoz-Doyague & Nieto, 2012), many of which also Page 22
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Reportoperate at the individual level. As leadership factors, these stem from the relationship ratherthan from the role that a person has been assigned. Understanding which of these elementswithin the exchange relationship influences creativity is of importance to leaders.Furthermore, some research prior to the 2006 did not consistently support the link betweenLMX and creativity, suggesting the influence of other variables (Volmer et al., 2012).One element of a high quality LMX relationship is the development of trust between theleader and the employee. This trust creates an environment in which the leader feels safe toincrease employee autonomy through delegation of authority. Leaders are more willing toprovide challenging and autonomous assignments to employees who are expected toperform reliably and work in the best interests of the leader (K. Wang & Casimir, 2007). Foremployees, the improved communication that this trust provides can give employees abetter understanding of how a leader operates and what they are trying to achieve(Mathisen, 2011). This suggests a relationship between LMX and autonomy that supportscreativity, something that has been confirmed by research (Mathisen, 2011; Volmer et al.,2012). This relationship starts to uncover some of the complexity of organisational creativityas the apparently task related element of autonomy is linked in part at least to therelationship between a leader and the employee. Trust appears to be important not justwithin a group as discussed earlier but between individuals and their leaders as well.An aspect related to trust is the extent to which the relationship establishes expectations andobligations of creativity. As has been explained, the creative expectations from a roleencourage creativity from individuals in those roles. Of all the stakeholders that can setthese expectations, the expectations of an employee’s leader has the strongest influence(Carmeli & Schaubroeck, 2007). Cooper and Jayatilaka (2006) examined the role of obligationmotivation which is a form of social motivation that extends from a need to reciprocatebenefits received. They believed that because obligation motivation was the result of Page 23
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Reportmotivation from an external party, it would operate in a manner similar to extrinsicmotivation and would be detrimental to creativity. The relationship was found to be theopposite of what they proposed in that obligation motivation was found to increasecreativity. Cooper and Jayatilaka appear to be the first to examine the effect of obligationmotivation on creativity but other research has linked obligation to higher levels ofemployee commitment, and performance (Eisenberger, Armeli, Rexwinkel, Lynch, &Rhoades, 2001) making the effect of obligation motivation an area deserving of furtherstudy. Although more research may be required to confirm the specific mechanism,obligations and expectations provide another potential influence on creativity for leaders tobe aware of.Other factors related to LMX have received attention. An example of this is that a leader’semotional intelligence is linked to increased employee creativity and a high quality LMXrelationship increases an employee’s feelings of creative energy (Atwater & Carmeli, 2009;Castro, Gomes, & de Sousa, 2012). Although not specifically tested in research between 2006and 2012, there is the likelihood that other factors operate to modify the link between LMXand creativity as employees in high LMX relationships may receive better quality feedback(Mathisen, 2011; Volmer et al., 2012). In conclusion, while LMX enhances creativity throughtrust, autonomy, obligations and expectations, but there is scope for further study.LMX explains the impact between an immediate leader and the immediate members of theteam but does not explain the wider impact of relationships with management beyond theteam. The influence of leaders can extend beyond immediate management, for exampleproject teams whose members have relationships with upper management are more creative(Chen, 2009). This is an area deserving of further study to determine how far the relationshipbetween a leader and employee can extend. There is research that specifically examines theimpact of the bypass effect (the influence of the relationship of non-immediate managers on Page 24
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Reportemployees) on employee performance (J. Yang, Zhang, & Tsui, 2010). There is not the sameresearch specifically examining the influence of the bypass effect on creativity althoughsome research has noted this effect in passing. Chen’s (2009) research into guanxirelationships (leader-member relationships with an expectation of reciprocity (Xin & Pearce,1996)) provides some evidence that this influence exists though this is not the main focus ofthe study. The influence of the bypass effect would be of interest to large organisationswhich typically have hierarchical management structures and therefore is deserving offurther study.2.4.3. Leadership StylesThe way that leaders behave and manage their teams has a strong influence on individualswithin those teams. This section examines a number of leadership styles that have beenresearched to understand their influence on creativity. What this sub-section finds is thatthese leadership styles affect individual or social factors that have already been discussedearlier. Transformational leaders have received particular attention and will be examinedfirst followed by a review of other leadership styles.Transformational leaders are those who motivate employees to work towards achieving thebest outcome for the group (Shin & Zhou, 2007). This contrasts with transactional leadershipwhere the performance expectations are based on the exchange relationship creating a focusreceiving value in exchange for effort (Pieterse, van Knippenberg, Schippers, & Stam, 2010).Transformational leaders operate through generating a compelling vision of the future andprovide the encouragement and support for employees to achieve this vision (Gumusluoglu& Ilsev, 2009). They achieve this through close interactions with employees, modelling thebehaviour that focuses on group outcomes, and encouraging new ways of looking atproblems (Sun et al., 2012). Modern research proves a positive relationship between Page 25
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Reporttransformational leadership and increased employee creativity (Gong et al., 2009;Gumusluoglu & Ilsev, 2009; Shin & Zhou, 2007; A. Zhang et al., 2011).As has been seen, promoting creativity is complex and the mechanisms through whichtransformational leaders influence creativity is no exception to this. One way thattransformational leadership positively influences employee creativity is by creating a senseof psychological safety (Gumusluoglu & Ilsev, 2009; Sun et al., 2012). The moderating effectof psychological safety has been further confirmed as transformational leaders who do notcreate a sense of psychological safety do not generate as high levels of creativity in theiremployees (Pieterse et al., 2010). In addition, transformational leaders are identified asworking towards a collective gain and therefore operate in ways that improve the levels ofknowledge sharing within a group (A. Zhang et al., 2011) again, an influencer of creativity.A final factor to consider is that transformational leaders can influence creativity throughgenerating a sense of empowerment in employees (Sun et al., 2012). There is a strong linkbetween the management style of transformational leaders and many of the factors thatpositively influence creativity such as empowerment, knowledge sharing, and psychologicalsafety.Other leader behaviours have been investigated to understand the influence that these haveon creativity. These provide further evidence that styles of leadership support creativity byinfluencing what have been identified as individual factors. As an example, benevolentleadership supports creativity when employees have a strong sense of working in creativeroles and high levels of autonomy (A. Wang & Cheng, 2010). This creates a link between thisleadership style and both autonomy and role identity. Benevolent leadership is a positiveleadership style in that it is generally supportive of employees rather than being acontrolling style of leadership. It closely matches transformational leadership with the maindifference being that benevolent leadership has a stronger focus on support for employees Page 26
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Reportoutside their professional environment (Chan & Mak, 2012). The link between leadershipstyles and autonomy is further strengthened as other research has identified that leaderswho manage in a non-controlling fashion increase the creative self-efficacy of employees(Chong & Ma, 2010). There is also further evidence of the importance of leadershipbehaviours operating to support creativity through social factors, in particular psychologicalsafety. Leaders that are perceived as operating with integrity increase the perception ofpsychological safety which then increase employee’s intentions to be creative (Palanski &Vogelgesang, 2011). In general, leaders who operate in a positive manner, who allowemployees to take risks and operate with fewer constraints obtain higher levels of creativeoutputs (Wu, McMullen, Neubert, & Yi, 2008).Other leadership styles have been found to be detrimental to creativity but in doing so,affect the same individual and social factors as transformational leadership but in a negativeway. Transactional leadership, which is based around the exchange of value and self-interest, negatively influences creativity. The negative effect of transactional leadershipoperates by reducing the influence of psychological empowerment on creativity as it hasbeen identified that transactional leadership is more detrimental to creativity inenvironments where the employees generally have a high sense of psychologicalempowerment (Pieterse et al., 2010). This confirms psychological empowerment as a keymediating factor between leadership and employee creativity. Similarly authoritarianleadership is detrimental to creativity through reducing the collective efficacy of employeesand the extent which knowledge is shared within a group (A. Zhang et al., 2011).In conclusion, there is strong evidence that leadership styles influence creativity but do thisthrough the mechanisms of psychological empowerment, psychological safety, knowledgesharing, autonomy, and creative role identity. This evidence is compelling as it has provedboth a positive and negative relationship exists depending on the style of leadership. Page 27
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Report2.4.4. Leader’s DecisionsThis section examines the impact that the decisions that leaders make has on the creativity ofemployees. Whereas leader-employee relationships are developed over time based onnegotiated meaning, and leadership styles may be ingrained behaviours of leaders, thiscategory represents those areas where leaders have the most conscious control and includesrewards and resources.Rewards, termed as extrinsic motivation, received attention early in the research intocreativity with intrinsic motivation being seen as the more influential of the two (Amabile,1996). Extrinsic motivation comes from external sources and the reward is often separatefrom the task itself (Amabile, 1996). A good example of this is financial rewards where anemployee could be provided with a cash bonus for coming up with a good idea – but thecash is separate and distinct from the idea. It has been identified recently that financialrewards of limited value for tasks that require cognitive effort (Ariely, Gneezy, Loewenstein,& Mazar, 2009). This suggests that financial rewards would be ineffective for promotingcreativity. Historically the view among creativity researchers has matched this and considersextrinsic motivation to be of limited value (Cooper & Jayatilaka, 2006; Klotz, Wheeler,Halbesleben, Brock, & Buckley, 2011).This view that extrinsic motivation does not increase creativity has not been universallysupported in research since 2006 however. Positive links between extrinsic motivation andcreativity have been identified in three studies within the period. Sohn and Jung (2010)investigated the effects of compensation systems that included financial and non-financialrewards and found these had a direct and positive effect on creativity. An earlier study alsofound extrinsic motivation operated to support other factors, being the self-efficacy andperseverance of employees which in turn were positively related to creativity (Prabhu et al., Page 28
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Report2008). Finally, one study examined the indirect influence of extrinsic motivation on theintrinsic motivation to be creative. In this case, the study tested and confirmed that extrinsicmotivation affected performance pressure and self-determination and that these in turnaffected the intrinsic motivation to be creative (Eisenberger & Aselage, 2009). These studieswould appear to support a link between rewards and creativity but that the link is indirectrequiring further study to understand the specific nature of how rewards can more reliablyinfluence creativity.There is an additional leadership factor that has received attention in the period, which isthe provision of sufficient resources to allow employees to be creative. Lack of resources is arisk to creativity as employees may direct creative efforts into non-productive activities suchas dealing with the resource constraints rather than the generation of useful ideas (Amabile,1998). The main resource studied during the period was time, something that leaders eitherprovide or remove through setting timeframes or changing expected volumes of work.Within the literature, the availability of time was measured as time pressure, therefore thisreport assesses the effect of time pressure on creativity. There is insufficient material aboutthe provision of other resources such as people and equipment to be able to comment onthese as an influence on creativity.The studies that examine the effect of time pressure are inconclusive about its influence oncreativity. There are five studies that examine time pressure in the period of interest. Thefirst two examine whether there is a curvilinear relationship between time pressure andcreativity but these come to opposite conclusions. The first of these confirmed a curvilinearrelationship exists with the highest levels of creativity being found in states of intermediatetime pressure (Ohly, Sonnentag, & Pluntke, 2006). A second study however rejected thehypothesis that there was a curvilinear relationship between the two factors (Baer &Oldham, 2006). The remaining studies examine the direct effect of time pressure without Page 29
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Reportlooking for a curvilinear relationship. Collectively these are inconclusive as they arecontradictory. One study rejects the hypothesis that there is a negative relationship betweentime pressure and creativity (Noefer, Stegmaier, Molter, & Sonntag, 2009). A second foundthat both daily and chronic time pressure on employees positively influenced creativity(Ollila & Elmquist, 2011). The final study identified that reduced time pressure supportedcreativity (Hsu & Hsueh-Liang, 2010). The latter two studies appear to directly contradicteach other. Although no conclusions can be drawn about the effect of time pressure, enoughstudies have identified that a relationship can exist, therefore time pressure is somethingthat that leaders need to aware of. It will be included in the framework for this report as aplaceholder and more in depth research is required to confirm how this factor operates.Such research would need to extend longitudinally to cover literature over a wider period. Page 30
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Report3. Discussion3.1. Framework of StrategiesThe review of the literature has identified a number of areas where managers can focus toincrease the creative output of employees and furthermore has identified that a number ofthese areas are linked. The number of factors and the relationships between these arecomplex and therefore are best represented as a framework.This framework consists of three key areas that influence the creativity of employees andthese match those areas covered in the literature review. There are a number of individualand social factors that are within leaders’ ability to influence that support creativity withinemployees. The framework below (figure 3) illustrates the key factors and the linkagesbetween them. Figure 3. The framework for creativity derived from creativity literature since 2006. Page 31
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research ReportThe individual factors that leaders should look to influence revolve around encouragingemployees to express creativity. Finding ways to increase intrinsic motivation is animportant factor specific to individuals. The remaining factors that affect individuals relatedto the roles assigned to those employees. Individuals that have a role that has a creativerequirement, autonomy in how they perform the task at hand and a sense of psychologicalempowerment are more likely to be creative.The social factors that support creativity are a combination of those that support theexpression of creativity and those that provide access to knowledge that supports creativity.The size and diversity of an individual’s networks is important in providing access topotential sources of knowledge. The literature found few links between leaders and networksize and diversity therefore the framework does not propose a direct link, however leaderscan create environments where employees are encouraged to build and maintain large anddiverse networks outside their teams. The willingness to share information is related tosocial networks in that not only must the knowledge be available from external networks,employees must be willing to share it. The extent of this is sharing and the willingness ofindividuals to put forward creative ideas is dependent on the nature of the socialenvironment. Leaders need to create a sense of psychological safety to generate conditionsso that the sharing of knowledge and the acceptance of creative ideas by the group aremaximised.The role of leaders is to influence the individual and social factors that promote creativity.For social factors this is through creating a sense of psychological safety. For individualfactors the picture is more complex. Leaders can assign employees to roles that have acreative requirement and support this through having creative expectations from theemployee and establishing obligations to motivate creativity. Aspects of psychologicalempowerment are another avenue that leaders can use to enhance creativity in particular by Page 32
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Reportassigning tasks that are engaging and significant to employees. This implies that managersneed to take care to match the right tasks to those employees who will feel that they areengaging and significant. Autonomy appears as the factor that most directly affects intrinsicmotivation and is therefore something that should be a significant consideration for leaders.Leaders can support autonomy through the development of trust with employees.Autonomy requires direction however and leaders must ensure that excessive autonomydoes not lead to ambiguity of outcome. Many of the factors identified in this research arethose possessed by transformational leaders. This provides a well understood model forleaders who may be looking to enhance the creativity of the employees and the teams thatreport to them.Time pressure and extrinsic motivation deserve special comment. These are both notedwithin the framework as leaders need to be aware these have potential to influenceemployee creativity. The nature of the influence is difficult to discern from the literature inthe period covered so these are marked in the framework as placeholders. For employeesboth of these factors are obvious and likely to have a significant impact on their work even ifthe effect on creativity is unclear. Even though their effect is inconclusive, they both need tobe recognised. These would both benefit from additional research to confirm their place inthe framework.There are two aspects of the framework worthy of further comment. The first of these is thepropensity of positive human factors, and the second is the framework demonstrates theimportance of social considerations for promoting creativity. Page 33
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Report3.2. The Importance of Positive Human FactorsLooked from a high level, there is a high propensity of positive human factors involved insupporting creativity within an organisational environment. Even within the limited periodthat this report investigates this includes trust, intrinsic motivation, transformationalleadership, social networks and team relations. These are characteristics that create apositive environment or are enabling for individuals. These factors represent the human sideof leadership rather than the more traditional transactional style of leadership that focuseson rewards tied to measures. What this provides leaders is a potential heuristic approach toencouraging creativity. This approach is for leaders to focus strongly on the people andfinding ways to enable them to be creative. This focus on positive human factors is a simple,useful strategy for leaders to enhance creativity in employees.3.3. The Importance of Social FactorsAnother overall finding from the review performed in this report is the significant part thatsocial factors play in promoting creativity. The research into creativity has come a long waysince the psychological beginnings that viewed the individual as the source of creativity. Theframework outlined in this paper is based on a relatively small period and even within thissmall period, a large number of factors have been identified that are dependent onemployees’ social environments. Although the generation of creative ideas may come fromindividuals, creative output seems to be highly dependent on the social context and therelationships of the individuals within that social environment. This study has proved thatthe creativity of individuals can benefit from relationships between those individuals andtheir peers, their leaders, and even through their wider network of acquaintances. Forleaders this means that they need to find ways for their employees to cultivate theserelationships in order to be creative, making this another simple and clear strategy. Page 34
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Report3.4. ConclusionThis is a picture drawn from research performed since 2006 and therefore gives a picture ofwhere scholars have been most recently focusing their interests. There is much that matchesthe themes examined in research prior to 2006 but with the newer research elaborating onthese. What is most interesting is the number of areas that have been found to be deservingof further study. Some of this is a result of the research expanding into new areas ofcreativity like obligation motivation and some because the new conclusions that can bedrawn from the research. The next section explains these recommendations for furtherresearch. Page 35
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Report4. Recommendations for Further Research4.1. Causality and GeneralizabilityA review of the literature to identify key themes for improving employee creativity hasuncovered a large amount of choice for managers. There are a large variety of factors thathave been proved through various studies to positively influence creativity. For a managerattempting to improve the creative output of individuals within an organisation this largechoice creates a high level of uncertainty and complexity. The uncertainty stems from anumber of areas.Firstly the causality of the findings is a frequently cited limitation as the majority of theresearch that tests hypotheses come from point-in-time surveys. This causality was cited as alimitation by many of the studies across a broad range of topics including networks andrelationships (Chen, 2009; Zhou et al., 2009), leadership style (Pieterse et al., 2010; Shin &Zhou, 2007), or individual factors (Mathisen, 2011; A. Wang & Cheng, 2010). This causalitylimitation creates a level of risk implementing any of the strategies identified in this paper asthe effect of the strategy may not operate as intended. For example, increasing a task’sautonomy may positively influence creativity, or conversely, tasks with high autonomy mayattract more creative individuals but not encourage creativity from the employee alreadyperforming that task. The growing body of research over time reduces this causality risk, forexample enough research has been completed over the years to have confidence thatincreasing intrinsic motivation also increases creativity. To reduce causality issues, there is aneed for further longitudinal academic studies such as that examining affect and creativityin the work environment (Amabile, Barsade, Mueller, & Staw, 2005).Another risk for managers is the generalizability of the findings. Each of the researchsurveys referred to in this report examines real live organisations each of which exists within Page 36
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Reportits own context. This context includes the obvious such as country, size of organisation, andindustry but can also include the non-obvious such as the life-stage of the organisation andthe competitive environment. In this respect the research to date builds upon previousresearch to build a more complete picture however the research since 2006 also surveys awide variety of organisations. These range in type from high technology research anddevelopment companies, government organisations, a baby goods retail chain, and a travelagency. Resolving this generalizability problem would require a meta-analysis of theliterature far larger than has been performed in this paper. For example, 43% of the studiesfrom East Asia examined creative industries such as high technology firms whereas only15% of the studies from Western Europe covered the same industries. The demographicwithin the studies also varied considerably ranging at the low end from 6% femalerespondents in one study to another where 100% of the respondents were female. Given thatonly 30% of studies specifically employed gender as a control variable, this provides anotherchallenge to generalizability. Further research is required to perform a wide ranging meta-analysis to examine the influence of organisational type and demographic on influencers ofcreativity.4.2. Specific Areas of Further ResearchThis report indicates a number of specific areas that could benefit from further research. Oneof these opportunities for further research is whether there is a curvilinear relationshipbetween job autonomy and either creativity or intrinsic motivation. This report identifiedthat although autonomy was positively related to creativity, there may be limits to whichthese items are positively linked – particularly if autonomy reaches the point of creatingambiguity. There is related research that identifies a curvilinear relationship betweenautonomy and innovativeness but this curvilinear relationship has not been proved in the Page 37
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Reportcase of creativity. This information would be of importance to leaders who rely onautonomy to promote creativity.Creativity research has a long history of research into the effect of intrinsic and extrinsicmotivation. This report has found that obligation can also provide a motivation and that thisis an area for further research. Further research would not only confirm whether obligationmotivation promotes creativity but may strengthen our understanding of how thisinfluences creativity.This report examines relationships between immediate leaders and employees and has onlycursory look at the influence of the relationship between non-immediate managers andemployees – the bypass effect. There is research that examines the nature of the bypass effecthas on employee performance (J. Yang et al., 2010) but little research on how the bypasseffect influences creativity. More research into this area is recommended to draw a clearerpicture as this would be of value to leaders of organisations with deep hierarchicalstructures.The final areas that could benefit from further research are those related to the decisions ofleaders, specifically extrinsic motivation and time pressure. The review of the literature since2006 was unable to come to a conclusion about the nature of the influence of these factors oncreativity. These have received attention in the past and a review over a wider period mayconfirm their influence on creativity.4.3. Simplified FrameworksFurther research could examine the benefits of trying to simplify the model by aggregatingcreativity influencers at a higher level of abstraction and developing assessments to measure Page 38
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Reportand understand these. Some work already exists as there is a test that assesses the effect ofan organisation’s environment on creativity (Amabile, Conti, Coon, Lazenby, & Herron,1996). Another potential approach is to look outside creativity literature for models toapply. One example of this exists in the study of human generated errors in the form of the‘Swiss Cheese’ model. This model identifies that accidents are a result of failures at variouslayers and that for an accident to occur, there needs to be a failure at each layer (Reason,2000). This is a model that has proved to be successful at allowing managers to deal with thecomplexities of human errors in high risk environments such as naval aviation operations(Department of Defense, 2010). Human error and creativity are similar in that they aredifficult-to-control results of human acts. If such a model were to be defined, it would havesignificant potential benefit to simplify the process of enhancing creativity. An outlinecomparing the Swiss Cheese model of safety (figure 4) against how such a creativity model(figure 5) could look is illustrated below. This would advance the current models byallowing leaders to identify which layers appears to be most inhibiting creativity and focustheir effort on those. This would be a significant body of work deserving of further research. Page 39
    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Report Figure 4. The ‘Swiss Cheese’ model for safety. Source Reason, 2000, p. 769. Figure 5: Outline of potential ‘Swiss Cheese’ model for creativity. Page 40
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    • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward Research Report6. Appendices6.1. Journals Included in Initial Literature SearchThe following lists journals that were used in the initial literature search. Academy of Management Journal Academy of Management Review Administrative Science Quarterly Creativity and Innovation Management Creativity Research Journal Group and Organization Management Journal of Applied Psychology Journal of Business and Psychology Journal of Management Journal of Managerial Psychology Journal of Organizational Behavior Leadership Quarterly Organizational Science Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes Page 50