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BUSINESS COPY RIGHT 2013 Institute of Interdisciplinary Business Research 242
JUNE 2013 VOL 5, NO 2 Employee Creativity: A compulsory Factor in Organizations
Malikeh Beheshtifar Management Department, Rafsanjan Branch, Islamic AZAD
University, Iran Elaheh Zare Management Department, Rafsanjan Branch, Islamic
AZAD University, Iran Abstract Creativity research has a long history in psychology,
focusing on individual differences in personality, cognitive abilities, and problemsolving styles. Creativity is considered to be a personal characteristic with features
that include broad areas of interest and high energy levels. Considerable evidence
indicates that employee creativity can fundamentally contribute to organizational
innovation, effectiveness, and survival. So, creativity is important to organizations
because creative contributions can not only help organizations become more
efficient and more responsive to opportunities, but also help organizations adapt to
change, grow and compete in the global market. Organizations could develop
creativity by selecting individuals that are potentially creative, for instance based on
assessment tools like Goughs Creative Personality Scale, or by training workers in
cognitive skills like divergent thinking. We consider employee creativity as an
ongoing process, not limited in time and space, and we envision a role for
ergonomics to foster the creativity of all workers. For creativity to occur in
organizations, managers need to support and promote it. Keywords: creativity,
employee creativity, organization Introduction A major challenge confronting
managers in the 21st century is how to use the potential capabilities of employees
to enhance and accelerate organizational innovation. To achieve this goal,
employees can use their intellectual capabilities to activate positive organizational
changes by using their knowledge and creativity to empower such changes
(Alirezaei & Tavalaei, 2008). Creativity research has a long history in psychology,
focusing on individual differences in personality, cognitive abilities, and problemsolving styles. However, recent theoretical and empirical work has looked at
creativity as something the brain does naturally. That is, creativity is an adaptive
feature of normal cognitive functioning that evolved to aid problem solving under
conditions of uncertainty. Under such circumstances, novel approaches and
invention are highly advantageous (Simonton, 2000). Creativity is derived from an
individuals accumulated creative thinking skills and expertise based on their formal
educations and past experiences (Gong et al., 2009). In some studies, creativity is
considered to be a personal characteristic with features that include broad areas of
interest and high energy levels (King & Gurland, 2007). An understanding of
organizational creativity will necessarily involve understanding (a) the creative
process, (b) the creative product, (c) the creative person, (d) the creative situation,
and (e) the way in which each of these components interacts with the others
(Harrington, 1990). Creativity is important to organizations because creative
contributions can not only help organizations become more efficient and more
responsive to opportunities, but also help organizations adapt to change, grow and
compete in the global market. Researchers have mentioned that some level of
creativity is needed in almost any job (Unsworth, 2001). Given the important role of

employee creativity in the organization, researchers have become increasingly


interested in identifying the conditions that predict creativity of individual
employees, including personal characteristics and contextual factors (Oldham &
Cummings, 1996). It is obvious that many organizations do not consider creativity,
especially in ijcrb.webs.com INTERDISCIPLINARY JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY
RESEARCH IN BUSINESS COPY RIGHT 2013 Institute of Interdisciplinary Business
Research 243 JUNE 2013 VOL 5, NO 2 developing countries. So, it is needed to study
nature of creativity and employees' creativity in organizations. Nature of creativity
Due to its undisputable relevance to individual, groups and organizations, the
concept of creativity has been widely discussed over the last decades in a variety of
disciplines including psychology, sociology, organizational behavior, and IS (Styhre
and Sundgren, 2005). Probably the most often-used structure for creative studies is
that suggested by Rhodes (1987). It is an alliterative scheme that divides creative
studies into the following categories: person, process, press, and product. The
person category includes research on personal characteristics. These may reflect
personality, for example, and there has been copious research on the traits that
characterize creative persons (Runco, 2004). Even so, environmental changes have
forced organizations to think creatively to help ensure their survival (Sadegi-MalAmiri and Raeisi, 2010). Creativity has been defined as a judgment of the novelty
and usefulness (or value) of something (Pirola-Merlo and Mann, 2004). Creativity
can be defined as the ability to discern new relationships, examine subjects from
new perspectives, and form new concepts from existing information (Forgionne and
Newman, 2007). In general, creativity in the workplace is defined as the production
of novel and useful ideas or solutions (Zhou & George, 2001). According to Boden
(1998), there are three main types of creativity, involving different ways of
generating the novel ideas: a) The combinational creativity that involves new
combinations of familiar ideas. b) The exploratory creativity that involves the
generation of new ideas by the exploration of structured concepts. c) The
transformational creativity that involves the transformation of some dimension of
the structure, so that new structures can be generated. Also, Ekvall (1996) appoints
10 dimensions of climate which are characteristics of climate in a way they reflect
the possibility for certain, creative behavior that enables change/innovation: 1.
Challenge (How emotionally involved, and committed are employees to the work).
2. Freedom (How free employees are to decide how to do their job). 3. Idea time
(The amount of time employees have to elaborate ideas). 4. Trust and openness (Do
employees feel safe speaking their minds and offering different points of view). 5.
Dynamism (The eventfulness of life in the organization). 6. Playfulness (How relaxed
is the workplace). 7. Debates (To what degree do people engage in lively debates
about the issues) 8. Conflicts (To what degree do people engage in interpersonal
confl icts). 9. Risk-taking (The promptness of response to emerging opportunities.
Developing creativity involves the following four elements: 1. Understanding the
process of creative thinking 2. Identifying blocks to creative thinking and the skills
individuals can use, and managers can foster, to increase creative responses 3.
Using methods to get fresher ideas and solutions more often 4. Allowing a personal

creative drive and life-long creative vision that will help individu-als, including
managers, to achieve their personal and professional goals (Mauzy, 2006). In an
overview of creativity and what it entailed, Rhodes (1961) described four
overlapping themes: Characteristics for personal creativity (e.g.curiosity,
openness), Creative process (e.g., properly defining problem or opportunity),
ijcrb.webs.com INTERDISCIPLINARY JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY RESEARCH IN
BUSINESS COPY RIGHT 2013 Institute of Interdisciplinary Business Research 244
JUNE 2013 VOL 5, NO 2 Outcomes or products (e.g., focus on clients, donors,
ultimate users needs), Context or climate (e.g., workplace that encourages
individual, group, and organizational creativity) (Barrett, et al. 2005). Employee
creativity According to conventional wisdom, creativity is something that creative
people have or do (Amabile, 1997). Creative individuals have several features that
distinguish them from their less creative peers, that is, they have a rich body of
domain-relevant knowledge and welldeveloped skills; they find their work
intrinsically motivating; they tend to be independent, unconventional, and greater
risk takers; and they have wide interests and a greater openness to new
experiences (Simonton, 2000). Many studies have identified creativity as an
outcome that focuses on new and useful ideas (Shalley and Gilson, 2004). Individual
creativity consists of: 1) Need for achievement; 2) Locus of control; 3) Encounter to
ambiguity conditions; and 4) Creativity-related skills (Shilling, 2008). According to
Amabile (1998), individual creativity is classified by three components: expertise,
creative-thinking skills, and motivation. Managers can influence these
componentsfor better and worse-through workplace practices and conditions.
Expertise and creativethinking skills are more difficult and time consuming to
achieve than motivation. Intrinsic motivation stimulates high level of persistence
and creative effort in work contexts where creativity is clearly valued. Creative
individuals have several features that distinguish them from their less creative
peers, that is, they have a rich body of domain-relevant knowledge and welldeveloped skills; they find their work intrinsically motivating; they tend to be
independent, unconventional, and greater risk takers; and they have wide interests
and a greater openness to new experiences (Simonton, 2000). Several recent
studies of leadership have examined the influence of leaders on employees
creative behaviors. Followers creativity achievement is likely to be mediated
primarily by their degrees of psychological involvement in creative processes
(Carmeli & Schaubroeck, 2007). Considerable evidence indicates that employee
creativity can fundamentally contribute to organizational innovation, effectiveness,
and survival (Shalley, Zhou, & Oldham, 2004). Several studies have demonstrated a
positive relationship between support from supervisors and employee creativity. For
example, Oldham and Cummings (1996) found that supportive supervision made a
significant contribution to the number of patent disclosures employees wrote over a
two-year period. However, creative employees that are placed in traditional
productivity driven organizations with formal structures, time constraints, strict
regulations, daily similar tasks, standardized workplaces, etc., may not be
stimulated to show the desired creative behavior. The extent to which a person

generates new and useful ideas depends on the support that is received from the
work environment (Woodman et al., 1993). Piccolo and Colquitt (2006) concluded
that there were four dimensions of leaders influence on employee creativity,
including idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and
individualized consideration. Also, George and Zhou (2007) considered three
alternative ways in which supervisors could enhance employee creativity: through
providing developmental feedback, through displaying interactional justice, and
through being trustworthy. More specifically, developmental feedback instills a
learning/improvement orientation that is vital for creativity; interactional
ijcrb.webs.com INTERDISCIPLINARY JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY RESEARCH IN
BUSINESS COPY RIGHT 2013 Institute of Interdisciplinary Business Research 245
JUNE 2013 VOL 5, NO 2 justice ensures that subordinates will have the knowledge
and information they need to be creative and will be treated with respect even if
their ideas do not pan out; and trust reassures them that their hard work and risk
taking are well worth the effort because supervisors have the competence and
professionalism to follow through on creative ideas. Therefore, it is important for all
organizations to improve their employees creativity, so managers must focus on
identifying, understanding, and utilizing techniques and approaches that promote
the creativity of their people. Conclusion Nowadays, understanding the dynamics of
creativity in organizations is a high priority in organizational behavior research
(Zhou & Shalley, 2008). In modern business, creativity and innovation are important
indicators of an organizations performance, and creative work environment can
advance employees well-being in terms of job satisfaction and lower intentions to
leave (Shalley et al. 2000). Organizations are increasingly seeking to foster
creativity, because it is an important source of organizational innovation as well as
competitive advantage (Oldham and Cummings, 1996). Many researchers believe
that creativity is very important for the long-term survival of organizations because
it enables organizations to remain competitive in a rapidly changing environment
and to achieve a competitive advantage (Beheshtifar & Kamani-Fard, 2013).
Organizations could develop creativity by selecting individuals that are potentially
creative, for instance based on assessment tools like Goughs Creative Personality
Scale, or by training workers in cognitive skills like divergent thinking (Scott et al.,
2004). So, the organization must understanding the behavior of the employees and
creates a culture to drive employees creativity in the organization. We consider
employee creativity as an ongoing process, not limited in time and space, and we
envision a role for ergonomics to foster the creativity of all workers. For creativity to
occur in organizations, managers need to support and promote it. ijcrb.webs.com
INTERDISCIPLINARY JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY RESEARCH IN BUSINESS COPY
RIGHT 2013 Institute of Interdisciplinary Business Research 246 JUNE 2013 VOL 5,
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