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Creativity Across Cultures. February 2, 2005. Class Overview. Last week we considered the effect of organizational culture on creativity. This week we consider culture outside the organization by focusing on individualism vs. collectivism.

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Creativity across cultures

Creativity Across Cultures

February 2, 2005


Class overview
Class Overview

  • Last week we considered the effect of organizational culture on creativity.

  • This week we consider culture outside the organization by focusing on individualism vs. collectivism.

  • Conclude by discussing how research on culture and creativity can move forward.


Individualism vs collectivism
Individualism vs. Collectivism

  • Collectivism: Groups bind and mutually obligate individuals.

  • Individualism: People are independent and self- determining (Oyserman, et.al., 2002)

  • Collectivistic values are beneficial:

    • Collectivism promotes cooperation and reduces social loafing(Wagner, 1995)

    • Collectivism promotes identification with the organization (Chatman, Polzer, Barsade & Neale, 1998)


Shift toward collectivism
Shift Toward Collectivism

  • Organizations shifting toward collectivistic work practices (Ilgen, et. al., 1993)

    • Quality circles & autonomous work teams

      (Nonaka, et. al., 1985)

  • Shift toward collectivistic forms of social control such as the motivating potential of shared norms and values (O’Reilly, 1989).


Research questions
Research Questions

Question 1:

  • Can collectivism have a downside?

    • Does collectivism stifle creativity?

      Question 2:

  • Can this barrier be overcome by simply instructing collectivistic groups to be creative?


Hypothesis 1: Individualistic groups will have higher performance than collectivistic groups on creativity tasks.

  • People in collectivistic cultures are more conforming.(Bond & Smith, 1996)

    • Given that creative ideas are initially deviant increasing conformity pressure will limit creativity (Moscovici, 1985; Nemeth & Staw, 1989).

  • Willingness to “stand out” from the group and to confront differences will promote creativity in individualistic groups.

    (Stasser, 1987; Nemeth, et al, 2001)


Counter argument collectivism and creative norms
Counter-argument: Collectivism and creative norms performance than collectivistic groups on creativity tasks.

  • Collectivistic groups may also be creative if they are “instructed” to do so.(Flynn & Chatman, 2001).

  • Norms are easily manipulated

    (Chatman & Barsade, 1995; Sutton & Hargadon, 1996)

  • ADVANTAGE: All the benefits of a cohesive group with collectivistic values without any of the destructive conflict and opportunism associated with individualistic groups.


From conformity to creativity
From Conformity to Creativity? performance than collectivistic groups on creativity tasks.

  • Hypothesis 2: There will be an interactive effect of task objectives and group culture on creative performance.

    Specifically,

    Hypothesis 2: Collectivistic groups instructed to be creative will be more creative than individualistic groups instructed to be creative.


Unleashing creativity where conformists can t follow
Unleashing Creativity: Where conformists can’t follow performance than collectivistic groups on creativity tasks.

  • Creative capabilities in individualistic groups may be unleashed when such groups are instructed to be creative.

    Competing Hypothesis:

  • Hypothesis 3: Group culture and objectives will have an interactive effect on creativity, such that the advantages of an individualistic (as opposed to collectivistic) culture will be strongest when groups are instructed to be creative.


Method
Method performance than collectivistic groups on creativity tasks.

  • Subjects: Undergraduate students in Business Administration

  • Groups of 3 randomly assigned to one of four conditions.

  • 2 (INDIVIDUALISM/COLLECTIVISM) X 2 (CREATIVE/PRACTICAL)

  • N = 68 groups (17 groups per condition)


How is individualism collectivism typically studied
How is individualism-collectivism typically studied? performance than collectivistic groups on creativity tasks.

  • Nationality as proxy (i.e. Chinese vs. Americans/European Americans)

    • Differences are assumed, not explicitly measured.

  • Disadvantages:

    • Within Country Differences: Ethnic groups (Freeberg & Stein, 1996)

    • Between Country Differences: Japan vs. US vs. Korea (Oyserman, et al)


Culture manipulation
Culture manipulation performance than collectivistic groups on creativity tasks.

INDIVIDUALISM: Write 3 statements:

A. Describing yourself.

  • About why you think you are not like most other people.

  • About why you think it might be advantageous to “stand out” from other people.

    COLLECTIVISM: Write 3 statements

  • Describing the groups to which you belong.

  • About why you think you are like most other people.

  • About why you think it might be advantageous to “blend in” with other people.


Creativity task
Creativity Task performance than collectivistic groups on creativity tasks.

  • PHASE 1: Idea Generation (15 minutes)

    • (CREATIVE/PRACTICAL) DECISION MAKING TASK

    • The campus restaurant is being shutdown.

    • The administration now has an empty space.

    • Generate as many (CREATIVE/PRACTICAL) ideas as possible.

  • PHASE 2: Idea Selection (10 minutes)

    • As a group, select the most (CREATIVE/PRACTICAL) idea.


Dependent variables phase 1
Dependent Variables (Phase 1) performance than collectivistic groups on creativity tasks.

  • Idea generation: Sheer number of ideas.

  • Divergent thinking:

    • Proportion of restaurant ideas.

    • Diversity of ideas.

  • Subjective rating of creativity

    • 5 = extremely creative, 1 = very un-creative


Dependent variables phase 2
Dependent Variables (Phase 2) performance than collectivistic groups on creativity tasks.

  • Creativity of selected idea

    • 5 = extremely creative, 1 = very un-creative

  • Number of facets

    • “Ideas can sometimes be multi-faceted. How many different elements are represented within the final idea selected by each group?”

    • E.g. Café with live music and a bookstore


Results number of ideas
Results: Number of Ideas performance than collectivistic groups on creativity tasks.


Results proportion of restaurant ideas
Results: performance than collectivistic groups on creativity tasks.Proportion of restaurant ideas


Results diversity of ideas
Results: Diversity of ideas performance than collectivistic groups on creativity tasks.

  • Lower score = greater novelty


Results creativity by condition
Results: Creativity by condition performance than collectivistic groups on creativity tasks.


Results creativity of selected idea
Results: Creativity of selected idea performance than collectivistic groups on creativity tasks.

  • Culture main effect: F (1, 63) = 6.13, p < .05


Multi faceted ideas
Multi-faceted ideas performance than collectivistic groups on creativity tasks.

  • Culture main effect: F (1, 63) = 7.03, p < .05

  • Number of facets positively correlated with subjective creativity rating: r = .64, p < .01


Summary of results
Summary of results performance than collectivistic groups on creativity tasks.

  • Instructions to “be creative” stimulate greater creativity in individualistic groups than collectivistic groups (H3).

    • More ideas, more diverse ideas, more creative ideas.

  • Individualistic groups are more creative even at the selection stage which is a “convergent task” (H1).

    • Selected ideas more creative and multi-faceted.

  • Notion that collectivistic groups can be more creative than individualistic groups when instructed to be was not supported.


Study conclusions
Study Conclusions performance than collectivistic groups on creativity tasks.

  • Shift toward collectivistic work practices may have unintended negative consequences.

  • Different cultures may have different effects on creativity.

  • Not easy to capitalize on the benefits of collectivism without incurring costs.


Remaining questions
Remaining Questions performance than collectivistic groups on creativity tasks.

  • We know that many innovations originate in countries that are collectivistic? How can we explain this discrepancy?

  • Is it possible that people define creativity differently in different cultures?


Next week
Next Week performance than collectivistic groups on creativity tasks.

  • Return Innovation Papers.

  • Tuesday: Discuss leadership, entrepreneurship and creativity.

  • Thursday: Guest lecture by founder and C.E.O of TerraCyle


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