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Creativity and Social Influence. April 4, 2006. Class Objectives. Give background on creativity. Begin to explore question of whether and how social influence can be used to stimulate creativity. Reminder: Innovation Paper #2 due in class on Thursday, April 13th. Creativity Definition.

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class objectives
Class Objectives
  • Give background on creativity.
  • Begin to explore question of whether and how social influence can be used to stimulate creativity.
  • Reminder: Innovation Paper #2 due in class on Thursday, April 13th.
creativity definition
Creativity Definition
  • An idea that is both novel and useful. Creativity defined by the product itself.

(Amabile, 1983).

  • Criterion of newness included in most definitions.
    • Key words: Original, new, unusual, novel, unexpected.
  • Divergent creativity: Entirely new principle or assumption.
      • Example: Invention of mass production.
  • Incremental creativity: Gradual improvement through modification.
      • Example: A new car model.
framework for understanding creativity
Framework for Understanding Creativity
  • Basic principles of the interactional approach.
    • Both a purely “person” and “situation” based approach is incomplete.
    • Must take into account both sets of factors to accurately predict behavior.
    • Interactions are not simply additive. People and situations exert reciprocal influence.
  • A single creative product (e.g. Post-It note) can reflect the efforts of:
    • A single individual.
    • Inputs from a social network.
    • An organizational context that influences the creative process.
1 creative thought
(1) Creative Thought
  • Divergent Thinking: The generation of a large number of ideas that are different from one-another.
    • Moves outward from a problem in many different directions.
  • Positive transfer: The transfer of factual knowledge and skills from one setting to another.
    • Negative transfer: When past experience hinders problem solving.
  • Functional fixedness: A mental block against using a object in a new way that is required to solve a problem.
creative thinking process
Creative Thinking Process
  • 4 Steps in the creative process (Wallas, 1926)
      • Preparation: Sensing a need or deficiency then gathering information.
      • Incubation: Exploring and discussing possible solutions.
      • Illumination: A flash of insight
      • Revision: Selecting and perfecting the idea.
    • Famous example: Archimedes’ bathtub
creativity intelligence
Creativity & Intelligence
  • Major question: Are creative people just really smart?
  • Creative adult artists, scientists, mathematicians and writers score high on tests of general intelligence.
    • Creative people are often perceived to be more intelligent than less creative people even in samples were tests revealed that no such correlation exists.
    • Yet, correlations between IQ and creative achievement in these samples are not very significant (r = -05 to + .31). Why?
    • IQ matters up to about 120 beyond which intelligence does not matter.
2 creative personality traits
(2) Creative Personality Traits
  • Openness to Experience: Subscale of the OCEAN personality taxonomy.
    • Inquisitive when faced with novel situations.
    • Readily adapt to change.
    • Creatively solve complex problems.
  • Tolerance of Ambiguity: Propensity to view novel situations as either threatening or desirable.
    • Intolerance of ambiguity associated with anxiety related problems, panic disorders.
  • Adaptor versus Innovator: Doing things better versus doing things differently.
do creative people fit in
Do Creative People “Fit In”?

Socially Neutral Traits:

  • Individualistic
  • Rebellious
  • Androgynous

Social Negative Traits:

  • Egotistical
  • Snobbish
  • Cynical
  • Impulsive
3 situational approach
(3) Situational Approach
  • Many highly creative people reported that their creativity was constrained by overly controlling environments.
    • Intrinsic Motivation Principle of Creativity:
    • When people do something they enjoy without reward they attribute their behavior to their love for the activity or the intrinsic interest of the task itself.
    • When people are paid they attribute their behavior to the incentive (I did it for the money) and are less likely to engage in that activity when the incentive is removed.
guiding metaphor exploring the maze
Guiding Metaphor: Exploring the Maze
  • Key Question: Can a person’s environment raise or lower their intrinsic motivation which will in turn influence their creativity?
  • The Maze: Extrinsically motivated person will take the shortest way out of a maze in order to exit as quickly as possible. Intrinsically motivated person will explore the maze because it is interesting and in the process will find a more original exit.
killing creativity an empirical test
Killing Creativity: An Empirical Test
  • Subjects: Professional creative writers using newspaper advertisements.
    • “Writers: If you are involved in writing, especially poetry, fiction or drama, you can make three dollars for an hour of your time. We are studying people’s reasons for writing.”
    • Subjects came to the experiment with a high level of involvement in writing.
experimental manipulation
Experimental Manipulation
  • Manipulation: Subjects completed a questionnaire about their attitudes toward the target creativity task (writing). Rank ordered several reasons for writing.
  • Questionnaire was designed not to assess their attitudes but to change them.
    • Push polling example.
    • Rank order statements about writing.
intrinsic questionnaire
Intrinsic Questionnaire
  • Intrinsically interesting aspects of writing.
    • You get a lot of pleasure out of reading something good that you have written.
    • You enjoy the opportunity for self expression.
    • You achieve new insights through your writing.
    • You derive satisfaction from expressing yourself clearly and eloquently.
extrinsic questionnaire
Extrinsic Questionnaire
  • Extrinsic reasons for writing.
    • You want your writing teachers to be favorably impressed with your writing talent.
    • You have heard of cases where one bestselling novel or collection of poems made the author financially secure.
    • You enjoy public recognition of your work.
    • You know that many of the best jobs available require good writing skills.
    • You teachers or parents have encouraged you to go into writing.
three important findings
Three Important Findings
  • The control group produced poems that were rated as being highly creative (not surprising since they were creative writers).
  • Subjects who received the intrinsic motivation manipulation produced poems that were somewhat more creative than the control group.
  • Subjects who received the extrinsic motivation manipulation produced poems that were much less creative than either the control or the intrinsic motivation condition.
creativity in groups and teams
Creativity in Groups and Teams
  • Idea exchange or sharing is an important source of creativity in organizations.
    • Meetings, cross-functional teams, new product ideas, short term focus groups.
  • Two heads are better than one.
    • Ideas generated in a group are better than those generated alone because people can build upon, combine and improve each other’s ideas.
group brainstorming
Group Brainstorming…
  • Idea generation in groups called “brainstorming.”
  • Specific rules an dramatically increase both the number and creativity of ideas generated (1957).
    • (1) The best way to come up with good ideas is to come up with many ideas.
    • (2) Freewheeling is welcomed—don’t be afraid to express any idea that comes to mind.
    • (3) Do not be critical.
  • Individuals can think of twice as many ideas in a groups vs. alone.
doesn t work
…Doesn’t Work!
  • Face-to-face groups rarely if ever outperform nominal groups in which people generate ideas alone and then combine their ideas into one list.
  • People have more positive reactions to face-to-face than nominal groups.
    • More satisfied with their experience.
    • Believe that time passed more quickly.
    • Believe that they generated more ideas and better ideas.
    • Feel more “creative.”
techniques for improving group brainstorming
Techniques for improving group brainstorming
  • Reduce production blocking.
    • Allow each individual to write their own ideas during the group discussion.
  • Reduce free riding
    • Tell the group that their input will be evaluated individually.
    • Catch: People are less creative when they feel “watched.”
  • Reduce evaluation apprehension
    • Do not allow criticism.
    • Or, frame criticism as useful.
over arching theme
Over-Arching Theme
  • Funnel Model of Creativity (Staw)
    • The larger the opening the more diverse ideas will be considered before final decision is made.
  • Factors that increase creativity widen the “funnel.”
    • Thinking with an open mind, traits that motive people to seek out new experiences, situations that welcome people who are different.
  • Prediction: Creativity increases when conformity pressure is reduced or eliminated.
source of debate role of conformity pressure
Source of Debate: Role of Conformity Pressure?

“Strong” social norms stimulate creativity:

  • O’Reilly & Chatman: Social influence/conformity pressure is a potential tool for managing creativity.

“Strong” social norms stifle creativity:

  • Nemeth & Staw: Creativity will emerge in a “weak” culture where people feel free to deviate from expectations.
on thursday potential resolution
On Thursday: Potential Resolution?
  • Two experiments that address the following questions:
    • (1). Are there norms that stimulate creativity in groups?
    • (2). Can pressuring people to conform to these norms increase creativity?
  • Reminder: Innovation paper #2 due in class, April 13th.