The Organizational Context in Cultural Patterns of Creativity

In this article, we first review cross-cultural research, especially that concerning similarities and differences between East Asian and Western cultures, on creativity using laboratory tasks and tests. On the basis of this review, we then propose some directions for future cross-cultural research on creativity in the workplace. We emphasize the need to theorize why cultural differences make a difference in creativity and directly investigate, rather than assume, effects of contextual factors on creativity. In this regard, two literatures on creativity – cross-cultural studies using laboratory tasks and organizational studies of employee creativity – can benefit tremendously from integration. We also call for more empirical research examining effects of culture on creativity in the workplace, especially in China.

Our review of the cross-cultural creativity literature revealed that much of the research has taken an individual-centered, or individual differences approach to an understanding of levels of creativity in different cultures. Context has been almost completely missing from previous theorizing and research in the cross-cultural creativity literature. As a result of the decontextualized approach, the usefulness dimension of creativity has not been considered. Also, there has been little theorizing about the proximal social contexts that affect creative work, such as the workers’ relationships to supervisors, peers, and associates. This unsatisfactory state-of-affairs provides impetus for more and better theorizing and research in the cross-cultural creativity research area …

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About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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