Although creativity research has historically focused on individuals, with more and more employees working in teams, researchers have started to explore the construct of team creativity. Rather than a comprehensive review, this article takes an in-depth look at the most recent team creativity research. To do this, key themes and trends are discussed, which are then tied back to prior reviews, and new avenues for future research are proposed. Team creativity is a challenging construct because it can be conceptualized as both an outcome and a process, and there is no clear definition of either. When considering team creativity as an outcome, research has employed both complex mediation models as well as a more nuanced examination of moderating variables and constructs that may strengthen or attenuate the effects of relationships related to team creativity. This growing avenue of research recognizes the variability in team creativity that is possible in different circumstances and contexts, and seeks to identify what drives different outcomes. These approaches also acknowledge that team creativity is not guaranteed even when enabling conditions are in place, and that other variables may exert forces in different ways. The recognition that team creativity is unlikely to be the simple sum of members’ creative processes is becoming very apparent, with researchers examining ways of encouraging, fostering, and sustaining creativity in teams over time. Researchers have also recognized that team creativity is more likely to unfurl over time as a process, rather than a discrete point-in-time event. To this end, the key areas examined are the roles of member diversity and leadership. For diversity, racio-ethno, cultural, gender, age, political orientation, and diversity training have all been examined. For leadership, the focus has shifted away from the more traditional transformational theories and to newer constructs such as humility, ethical and shared leadership, as well as what it means to have an ideational leader who facilitates idea generation. Taken together, what the most recent research tells us is that creativity in teams remains a growing and evolving area of inquiry. While no longer unexplored, much remains to be clarified such as the barriers to effective team creativity, and practices that may help transcend these barriers. A lot of promising areas for future research are highlighted, which will become more important as workplaces pivot toward cultivating team creativity in a systematic and intentional way.
Lucy L. Gilson, Yuna S. H. Lee, and Robert C. Litchfield
Joan V. Gallos
The arts have played a major role in the development of management theory, practice, and education; and artists’ competencies like creativity, inventiveness, aesthetic appreciation, and a design mindset are increasingly vital for individual and organizational success in a competitive global world. The arts have long been used in teaching to: (a) explore human nature and social structures; (b) facilitate cognitive, socioemotional, and behavioral growth; (c) translate theory into action; (d) provide opportunities for professional development; and (e) enhance individual and systemic creativity and capacities for change. Use of literature and films are curricular mainstays. A review of the history of the arts in management teaching and learning illustrates how the arts have expanded our ways of knowing and defining managerial and leadership effectiveness—and the competencies and training necessary for them. The scholarship of management teaching is large, primarily ‘how-to’ teaching designs and the assessments of them. There is a clear need to expand the research on how and why the arts are and can be used more effectively to educate professionals, enable business growth and new product development, facilitate collaboration and team building, and bring innovative solutions to complex ideas. Research priorities include: the systematic assessments of the state of arts-based management teaching and learning; explorations of stakeholder attitudes and of environmental forces contributing to current educational models and practices; analyses of the learning impact of various pedagogical methods and designs; examining the unique role of the arts in professional education and, especially, in teaching for effective action; mining critical research from education, psychology, creativity studies, and other relevant disciplines to strengthen management teaching and learning; and probing how to teach complex skills like innovative thinking and creativity. Research on new roles and uses for the arts provide a foundation for a creative revisiting of 21st-century management education and training.
Michael D. Mumford, Robert Martin, and Samantha N. Elliott
Creative thinking is the basis for innovation in firms. And the need for strategy-relevant innovations has generated a new concern with how people go about solving the kinds of problems that call for creative thought. Although many variables influence people’s ability to provide creative problem solutions, it is assumed the ways in which people work with or process knowledge provides the basis for successful creative problem-solving efforts. Additionally, there has been evidence bearing on the processing activities that contribute to creative problem solving. It is noted that at least eight distinct processing activities are involved in most incidents of creative problem solving: (1) problem definition, (2) information gathering, (3) concept selection, (4) conceptual combination, (5) idea generation, (6) idea evaluation, (7) implementation planning, and (8) adaptive monitoring. There are strategies people employ in effective execution of each of these processes, along with contextual variables that contribute to, or inhibit, effective process execution. Subsequently, there are key variables that operate in the workplace that contribute to, or inhibit, effective execution of these processing operations. These observations, of course, lead to implications for management of innovative efforts in firms.
Critical thinking is more than just fault-finding—it involves a range of thinking processes, including interpreting, analyzing, evaluating, inferencing, explaining, and self-regulating. The concept of critical thinking emerged from the field of education; however, it can, and should, be applied to other areas, particularly to research. Like most skills, critical thinking can be developed. However, critical thinking is also a mindset or a disposition that enables the consistent use and application of critical thought. Critical thinking is vital in business research, because researchers are expected to demonstrate a systematic approach and cogency in the way they undertake and present their studies, especially if they are to be taken seriously and for prospective research users to be persuaded by their findings. Critical thinking can be used in the key stages of many typical business research projects, specifically: the literature review; the use of inductive, deductive, and abductive reasoning and the relevant research design and methodology that follows; and contribution to knowledge. Research is about understanding and explaining phenomena, which is usually the starting point to solve a problem or to take advantage of an opportunity. However, to gain new insights (or to claim to), one needs to know what is already known, which is why many research projects start with a literature review. A literature review is a systematic way of searching and categorizing literature that helps to build the researchers’ confidence that they have identified and recognized prevailing (explicit) knowledge relevant to the development of their research questions. In a literature review, it is the job of the researcher to examine ideas presented through critical thinking and to scrutinize the arguments of the authors. Critical thinking is also clearly crucial for effective reasoning. Reasoning is the way people rationalize and explain. However, in the context of research, the three generally accepted distinct forms of reasoning (inductive, deductive, and abductive) are more analogous to specific approaches to shape how the literature, research questions, methods, and findings all come together. Inductive reasoning is making an inference based on evidence that researchers have in possession and extrapolating what may happen based on the evidence, and why. Deductive reasoning is a form of syllogism, which is an argument based on accepted premises and involves choosing the most appropriate alternative hypotheses. Finally, abductive reasoning is starting with an outcome and working backward to understand how and why, and by collecting data that can subsequently be decoded for significance (i.e., Is the identified factor directly related to the outcome?) and clarified for meaning (i.e., How did it contribute to the outcome?). Also, critical thinking is crucial in the design of the research method, because it justifies the researchers’ plan and action in collecting data that are credible, valid, and reliable. Finally, critical thinking also plays a role when researchers make arguments based on their research findings to ensure that claims are grounded in the evidence and the procedures.
Linus Dahlander and Henning Piezunka
Crowdsourcing—a form of collaboration across organizational boundaries—provides access to knowledge beyond an organization’s local knowledge base. There are four basic steps to crowdsourcing: (a) define a problem, (b) broadcast the problem to an audience of potential solvers, (c) take actions to attract solutions, and (d) select from the set of submitted ideas. To successfully innovate via crowdsourcing, organizations must complete all these steps. Each step requires an organization to make various decisions. For example, organizations need to decide whether its selection is made internally. Organizations must take into account interdependencies among these four steps. For example, the choice between qualitative and quantitative selection mechanisms affects how widely organizations should broadcast a problem and how many solutions they should attract. Organizations must make many decisions, and they must take into account the many interdependencies in each key step.
D. Christopher Kayes and Anna B. Kayes
Experiential learning describes the process of learning that results from gathering and processing information through direct engagement with the world. In contrast to behavioral approaches to learning, which describe learning as behavioral changes that result from the influence of external factors such as rewards and punishments, learning from experience places the learner at the center of the learning process. Experiential learning has conceptual roots in John Dewey’s pragmatism. One of the most influential approaches to experiential learning in management and management education is David Kolb’s experiential learning theory (ELT) and the learning cycle that describes learning as a four-phase process of direct experience, reflection, abstract thinking, and experimentation. Experiential learning has been influential in management education as well as adult education because it addresses a number of concerns with traditional education and emphasizes the role of the learner in the learning process. It has been adopted by over 30 disciplines across higher education and has been extensively applied to management, organizations, and leadership development. The popularity of the experiential learning approach is due to many factors, including the growing discontent with traditional education, the desire to create more inclusive and active learning environments, and a recognition of the role that individual differences plays in learning. A renewed interest in experiential learning has brought about new and expanded conceptualizations of what it means to learn from experience. Variations on experiential learning include critical approaches to learning, brain science, and dual-processing approaches. While the term “experiential learning” is used by scholars to describe a specific philosophy or theory of learning, it often refers to many management education activities, including the use of experiences outside the classroom such as study abroad, internships, and service learning. Experiential learning also includes educational “experiential” learning activities inside the classroom. Within organizations, experiential learning provides an underlying conceptual framework for popular learning and leadership development programs such as emotional intelligence, strengths-based approaches, and appreciative inquiry. There is a growing recognition that experiential learning is the basis for many management practices such as strategy creation, research and development, and decision-making. Applications of experiential learning and education in management include simulations and exercises, learning style and educator roles, learning as a source of resilience, learning attitudes and other learning-based experiences, learning flexibility, cross-cultural factors, and team learning. Emerging research interest is also found in the relationship between experiential learning and expertise, intuition, mastery, and professional and career development, decision-making, and judgment in organizations.
Likoebe Maruping and Yukun Yang
Open innovation is defined as an approach to innovation that encourages a broad range of participants to engage in the process of identifying, creating, and deploying novel products or services. It is open in the sense that there is little to no restriction on who can participate in the innovation process. Open innovation has attracted a substantial amount of research and widespread adoption by individuals and commercial, nonprofit, and government organizations. This is attributable to three main factors. First, open innovation does not restrict who can participate in the innovation process, which broadens the access to participants and expertise. Second, to realize participants’ ideas, open innovation harnesses the power of crowds who are normally users of the product or service, which enhances the quality of innovative output. Third, open innovation often leverages digital platforms as a supporting technology, which helps entities scale up their business. Recent years have witnessed a rise in the emergence of a number of digital platforms to support various open innovation activities. Some platforms achieve notable success in continuously generating innovations (e.g., InnoCentive.com, GitHub), while others fail or experience a mass exodus of participants (e.g., MyStarbucksIdea.com, Sidecar). Prior commentaries have conducted postmortems to diagnose the failures, identifying possible reasons, such as overcharging one side of the market, failing to develop trust with users, and inappropriate timing of market entry. At the root of these and other challenges that digital platforms face in open innovation is the issue of governance. In the article, governance is conceptualized as the structures determining how rigidly authority is exerted and who has authority to make decisions and craft rules for orchestrating key activities. Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive framework for understanding governance as applied to open innovation that takes place on digital platforms. A governance perspective can lend insight on the structure of how open innovation activities on digital platforms are governed in creating and capturing value from these activities, attracting and matching participants with problems or solutions, and monitoring and controlling the innovation process. To unpack the mystery of open innovation governance, we propose a framework by synthesizing and integrating accreted knowledge from the platform governance literature that has been published in prominent journals over the past 10 years. Our framework is built around four key considerations for governance in open innovation: platform model (firm-owned, market, or community), innovation output ownership (platform-owned, pass-through, or shared), innovation engagement model (transactional, collaborative, or embedded), and nature of innovation output (idea or artifact). Further, we reveal promising research avenues on the governance of digital open innovation platforms.
Gamze Koseoglu and Christina E. Shalley
In the field of management, employee creativity, which is defined as the production of novel and useful ideas concerning products, processes, and services, has been found to be necessary for organizational success and survival. An employee’s relationships with others in the organization affect creativity because employees work in the presence of, and with, their coworkers. A social network approach has been taken to understand how employee relationships can affect creativity. Social networks examine the interaction of individuals with those around them, such as asking them for help or advice. Four components of social networks that have a role in employee creativity have received attention: the nature of the employee’s relationships with coworkers, the structure of the employee’s social network, the position of the employee in the organizational network, and the employee’s network heterogeneity. Regarding the nature of relationships, while some researchers have found that weaker ties are more beneficial for employee creativity, other researchers have found that stronger ties are more advantageous. In order to resolve this conflict, researchers examined the role of strong versus weak ties at different stages of the creativity process and found that, while weak ties might be more useful during idea generation, strong ties come into play during idea elaboration. There are also conflicting findings on the role of the structure of social network. Specifically, a group of researchers found support for a positive relationship between sparse networks and employee creativity, and another group found a positive relationship between dense networks and creativity. Some researchers aimed to resolve this debate, and their findings mirrored the findings on tie strength. They found that density affects different stages of the creative process in unique ways, and while sparse networks are more beneficial during idea generation, dense networks become more important during idea implementation. Compared to the previous two components, the role of network position and network heterogeneity has received less attention from researchers. Researchers found that both central and peripheral positions have certain benefits and costs for creativity. For example, on the one hand, employees located at the periphery of an organization can collect nonredundant information from outside of the organization that has not been shared by others in the organization and has a positive influence on creativity. On the other hand, employees at a central location gain benefits from fast and easy access to information based on many contracts and receiving recognition from many others, thereby improving creativity. Finally, researchers consistently found that different types of network heterogeneity, such as the diversity of one’s contacts in terms of functional background, organizational function, or nationality, positively affects employee creativity. There are many opportunities for future research on the relationship between social networks and creativity, such as examining the role of motivational and cognitive processes as mediational mechanisms, focusing on the role of alter characteristics, studying social networks in a team setting, and taking a temporal approach to understand how changes in social networks over time affect employee creativity.
John Bryson and Lauren Hamilton Edwards
Strategic planning has become a fairly routine and common practice at all levels of government in the United States and elsewhere. It can be part of the broader practice of strategic management that links planning with implementation. Strategic planning can be applied to organizations, collaborations, functions (e.g., transportation or health), and to places ranging from local to national to transnational. Research results are somewhat mixed, but they generally show a positive relationship between strategic planning and improved organizational performance. Much has been learned about public-sector strategic planning over the past several decades but there is much that is not known. There are a variety of approaches to strategic planning. Some are comprehensive process-oriented approaches (i.e., public-sector variants of the Harvard Policy Model, logical incrementalism, stakeholder management, and strategic management systems). Others are more narrowly focused process approaches that are in effect strategies (i.e., strategic negotiations, strategic issues management, and strategic planning as a framework for innovation). Finally, there are content-oriented approaches (i.e., portfolio analyses and competitive forces analysis). The research on public-sector strategic planning has pursued a number of themes. The first concerns what strategic planning “is” theoretically and practically. The approaches mentioned above may be thought of as generic—their ostensive aspect—but they must be applied contingently and sensitively in practice—their performative aspect. Scholars vary in whether they conceptualize strategic planning in a generic or performative way. A second theme concerns attempts to understand whether and how strategic planning “works.” Not surprisingly, how strategic planning is conceptualized and operationalized affects the answers. A third theme focuses on outcomes of strategic planning. The outcomes studied typically have been performance-related, such as efficiency and effectiveness, but some studies focus on intermediate outcomes, such as participation and learning, and a small number focus on a broader range of public values, such as transparency or equity. A final theme looks at what contributes to strategic planning success. Factors related to success include effective leadership, organizational capacity and resources, and participation, among others. A substantial research agenda remains. Public-sector strategic planning is not a single thing, but many things, and can be conceptualized in a variety of ways. Useful findings have come from each of these different conceptualizations through use of a variety of methodologies. This more open approach to research should continue. Given the increasing ubiquity of strategic planning across the globe, the additional insights this research approach can yield into exactly what works best, in which situations, and why, is likely to be helpful for advancing public purposes.
Nikolaus Franke and Christian Lüthje
Users of products and services, be they user firms or consumers, frequently develop innovations for their own benefit. Such user innovation is a long-existing phenomenon, but it has gained much momentum in the new millennium. The Internet has greatly facilitated connections between creative users, and at the same time cost-effective design and prototyping technologies are making it increasingly feasible for users to develop their own products and services. Users have been found to innovate mainly because they want solutions that best serve their own needs. In general, their innovation activities involve no expectations of monetary profit, being motivated rather by self-rewards (such as fun, positive feelings of altruism, signaling of competence to the community of peers). This explains why users are typically willing to share their innovations without requiring payment. A problem of user innovation is that, since the benefit that others could gain is an externality for users, they lack strong incentives to invest in the active diffusion of their innovations. The consequence of this “diffusion shortfall” is social welfare losses. There are several ways in which producers and service providers can help overcome these problems and benefit from the innovation potential of users at the same time. They can apply the lead user method to actively search for a small group of particularly highly motivated and qualified users, they can outsource product design work to their users via user design toolkits, and they can broadcast innovation challenges to an appropriate crowd of external problem solvers.