Advertisement

Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 86, Issue 1, pp 101–112 | Cite as

Understanding the Complex Relationship Between Creativity and Ethical Ideologies

  • Paul E. BierlyIII
  • Robert W. Kolodinsky
  • Brian J. Charette
Article

Abstract

The relationship between individuals’ creativity and their ethical ideologies appears to be complex. Applying Forsyth’s (1980, 1992) personal moral philosophy model which consists of two independent ethical ideology dimensions, idealism and relativism, we hypothesized and found support for a positive relationship between creativity and relativism. It appears that creative people are less likely than non-creative people to follow universal rules in their moral decision making. However, contrary to our hypothesis and the general stereotype that creative people are less caring about others, we found a positive relationship between creativity and idealism. These findings indicate that highly creative people are likely to be what Forsyth called “situationists,” individuals with both an ethic of caring and a pragmatic moral decision-making style. The finding that creative individuals tend to be situationists, and particularly that they tend to be high in idealism, appears to refute the line of reasoning that argues for a “creative personality” characterized in part by social insensitivity. Understanding the relationship between creativity and ethical ideologies has important implications for researchers, managers and teachers.

Keywords

creativity decision-making divergent thinking ethical ideologies ethics idealism morality relativism business ethics 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research benefitted from grants provided by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and by the James Madison University Center for Entrepreneurship.

References

  1. Amabile T. M. 1983 The Social Psychology of Creativity. Springer-Verlag, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  2. Borkowski S. C., & Ugras Y. J. (1992). The Ethical Attitudes of Students as a Function of Age, Sex, and Experience. Journal of Business Ethics, 11, 961–979. doi: 10.1007/BF00871962 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brady F. N. 1990 Ethical Managing: Rules and Results. MacMillan, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  4. Buchholz R. A., & Rosenthal S. B. (2005). The Spirit of Entrepreneurship and the Qualities of Moral Decision Making: Toward a Unifying Framework. Journal of Business Ethics, 60, 307–315. doi: 10.1007/s10551-005-0137-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ciulla J. B.: 1996, ‘Business Leadership and Moral Imagination in the Twenty-First Century’, in A. Cecil (ed.), Moral Values: The Challenge of the Twenty-First Century (University of Texas, Dallas)Google Scholar
  6. Ciulla, J. B.: 1998 ‘Imagination, Fantasy, Wishful Thinking and Truth‘, The Business Ethics Quarterly, Buffin Series 1, 99–108Google Scholar
  7. Comer D. R., & Vega G. V. (2008). Using the PET Assessment Instrument to Help Students Identify Factors that Could Impede Moral Behavior. Journal of Business Ethics, 77, 129–145. doi: 10.1007/s10551-006-9303-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Csikszentmihalyi M. 1996, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention. Harper Collins, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. De Bono E. 1992. Serious Creativity: Using the Power of Lateral Thinking to Create New Ideas. Harper Collins, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  10. Eysenck H. J. (1993). Creativity and Personality: Suggestions for a Theory. Psychological Inquiry, 4, 147–178. doi: 10.1207/s15327965pli0403_1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Eysenck H. J. 1995, Genius: The Natural History of Creativity. Cambridge University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  12. Feist G. J. (1998). A Meta-Analysis of Personality in Scientific and Artistic Creativity. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 2(4), 290–309. doi: 10.1207/s15327957pspr0204_5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Feist G. J., & Barron F. (2003). Predicting Creativity from Early to Late Adulthood: Intellect, Potential, and Personality. Journal of Research in Personality, 37, 62–88. doi: 10.1016/S0092-6566(02)00536-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fletcher J. 1973. Situations Versus Systems. In: P. E. Davis (Ed.), Introduction to Moral Philosophy. Merrill, Columbus, OhioGoogle Scholar
  15. Fombrun C., & Shanley M. (1990). What’s in a Name? Reputation Building and Corporate Strategy. Academy of Management Journal, 33, 233–258. doi: 10.2307/256324 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Forsyth D. R. (1980). A Taxonomy of Ethical Ideologies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39, 175–184. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.39.1.175 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Forsyth D. R. (1992). Judging the Morality of Business Practices: The Influence of Personal Moral Philosophies. Journal of Business Ethics, 11, 461–470. doi: 10.1007/BF00870557 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Forsyth D. R., Nye J. L., & Kelley K. N. (1988). Idealism, Relativism, and the Ethic of Caring. The Journal of Psychology, 122, 243–248Google Scholar
  19. Getzels J., & Csikszentmihalyi M. 1976. The Creative Vision: A Longitudinal Study of Problem Finding in Art. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  20. Gilligan C. 1982, In a Different Voice. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  21. Gough H. G. (1979). A Creative Personality Scale for the Adjective Check List. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 1398–1405. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.37.8.1398 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Graafland J. J. (2002). Profits and Principles: Four Perspectives. Journal of Business Ethics, 35(4), 293–306. doi: 10.1023/A:1013805111691 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gruber H. E. (1989) Creativity and Human Survival. In: D. B. Wallace & H. E. Gruber (eds.), Creative People at Work: Twelve Cognitive Case Studies. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  24. Guilford J. P. (1950). Creativity. The American Psychologist, 5, 444–454. doi: 10.1037/h0063487 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Guilford J. P. 1968 Creativity, Intelligence, and Their Educational Implications. EDITS/Knapp, San Francisco, CAGoogle Scholar
  26. Hagel, J. and J. S. Brown: 2005, The Only Sustainable Edge: Why Business Strategy Depends on Productive Friction and Dynamic Specialization (Harvard Business School Press)Google Scholar
  27. Hair J., Anderson R., Tatham R., & Black W. 1995, Multivariate Data Analysis. Prentice Hall: Englewood Cliffs, NJGoogle Scholar
  28. Hall J., & Rosson P. (2006). The Impact of Technological Turbulence on Entrepreneurial Behavior, Social Norms and Ethics: Three Internet-Based Cases. Journal of Business Ethics, 64, 231–248. doi: 10.1007/s10551-005-5354-z CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hamel G. 2000, Leading the Revolution. Harvard Business School Press: BostonGoogle Scholar
  30. Hannafey F. T. (2003). Entrepreneurship and Ethics: A Literature Review. Journal of Business Ethics, 46, 99–110. doi: 10.1023/A:1025054220365 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Helson R. (1996). In Search of the Creative Personality. Creativity Research Journal, 9, 295–306. doi: 10.1207/s15326934crj0904_1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Henle C., Giacalone R., & Jurkiewicz C. (2005). The Role of Ethical Ideology in the Workplace Deviance. Journal of Business Ethics, 56, 219–230. doi: 10.1007/s10551-004-2779-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hosmer L. T. 2005, The Ethics of Management, 5th edition. McGraw-Hill, Dubuque, IAGoogle Scholar
  34. Johnson, M.: 1993, Moral Imagination (Chicago University Press, Chicago)Google Scholar
  35. Joy S. (2004). Innovation Motivation: The Need to be Different. Creativity Research Journal, 16, 313–330. doi: 10.1207/s15326934crj1602&3_13 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kaplan C. A., & Simon H. A. (1990). In Search of Insight. Cognitive Psychology, 22, 374–419. doi: 10.1016/0010-0285(90)90008-R CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kidder R. M. 1995, How Good People Make Tough Choices: Resolving the Dilemmas of Ethical Living. Fireside: New YorkGoogle Scholar
  38. Kim W. C., & Mauborgne R. 2005, Blue Ocean Strategy. Harvard Business School Press: BostonGoogle Scholar
  39. Kimmel A. J. (2001). Deception in Marketing Research and Practice: An Introduction. Psychology and Marketing, 18(7), 657–661. doi: 10.1002/mar.1024 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Kirton M. (1976). Adaptors and Innovators: A Description and Measure. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 61(5), 622–629. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.61.5.622 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kohlberg L. 1984, The Psychology of Moral Development. Harper and Row, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  42. Nozick R. 1981, Philosophical Explanations. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  43. Nunnally J. C. 1978, Psychometric Theory. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  44. Oldham G. R., & Cummings A. (1996). Employee Creativity: Personal and Contextual Factors at Work. Academy of Management Journal, 39, 607–634. doi: 10.2307/256657 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Pinard M. C., & Allio R. J. (2005). Innovations in the Classroom: Improving the Creativity of MBA Students. Strategy and Leadership, 33(1), 49–52. doi: 10.1108/10878570510572653 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Podsakoff P., & Organ D. (1986). Self Reports in Organizational Research: Problems and Prospects. Journal of Management, 12, 531–544. doi: 10.1177/014920638601200408 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Poincare H. 1913, The Foundations of Science. Science Press, Lancaster, PAGoogle Scholar
  48. Raiborn C. A., & Payne D. (1990). Corporate Codes of Conduct: A Collective Conscience and Continuum. Journal of Business Ethics, 9(11), 879–889. doi: 10.1007/BF00382911 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Rice G. (2006). Individual Values, Organizational Context, and Self-perceptions of Employee Creativity: Evidence from Egyptian Organizations. Journal of Business Research, 59, 233–241. doi: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2005.08.001 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Robinson P. B., Stimpson D. V., Huefner J. C., & Hunt H. K. (1991). An Attitude Approach to the Prediction of Entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 15(4), 13–31Google Scholar
  51. Runco M. A. (Ed.) 1991, Divergent Thinking. Ablex Publishing, Norwood, NJGoogle Scholar
  52. Schminke M. (2001). Considering the Business in Business Ethics: An Exploratory Study of the Influence of Organizational Size and Structure on Individual Ethical Predispositions. Journal of Business Ethics, 30, 375–390. doi: 10.1023/A:1010793308837 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Schwepker C. H. (2001). Ethical Climate’s Relationship to Job Satisfaction, Organizational Commitment, and Turnover Intention in the Salesforce. Journal of Business Research, 54(1), 39–52. doi: 10.1016/S0148-2963(00)00125-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Shahinpoor N., & Matt B. F. (2007). The Power of One: Dissent and Organizational Life. Journal of Business Ethics, 74, 37–48. doi: 10.1007/s10551-006-9218-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Simon H. A. (1986). The Information-Processing Explanation of Gestalt Phenomena. Computers in Human Behavior, 2, 241–255. doi: 10.1016/0747-5632(86)90006-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Simonton D. K. 1999, Origins of Genius: Darwinian Perspectives on Creativity. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  57. Sternberg R. J. (Ed) 1999, Handbook of Creativity. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  58. Sternberg R. J., Davidson J. D. (Eds) 1995, The Nature of Insight. MIT Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  59. Sternberg R. J., & Lubart T. I. 1995, Defying the Crowd: Cultivating Creativity in a Culture of Conformity. Free Press: New YorkGoogle Scholar
  60. Teal E. J., & Carroll A. B. (1999). Moral Reasoning Skills: Are Entrepreneurs Different? Journal of Business Ethics, 19, 229–240. doi: 10.1023/A:1006037510932 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Vitell J., & Davis D. L. (1990). The Relationship Between Ethics and Job Satisfaction: An Empirical Investigation. Journal of Business Ethics, 9(6), 489–494. doi: 10.1007/BF00382842 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Wallas G. 1926, The Art of Thought. Cape: LondonGoogle Scholar
  63. Weisberg R. W. 2006, Creativity: Understanding Innovation in Problem Solving, Science, Invention, and the Arts. John Wiley & Sons: Hoboken, NJGoogle Scholar
  64. Werhane, P. H.: 1998, ‘Moral Imagination and the Search for Ethical Decision-Making in Management’, Business ethics Quarterly, Ruffin Series, 175–98Google Scholar
  65. Werhane, P. H.: 1999, Moral Imagination and Management Decision-Making (Oxford University Press, Oxford)Google Scholar
  66. Werhane, P. H.: 1998, ‘Mental Models, Moral Imagination and System Thinking in the Age of Globalization’, Journal of Business Ethics, 78 463–474CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul E. BierlyIII
    • 1
  • Robert W. Kolodinsky
    • 1
  • Brian J. Charette
    • 1
  1. 1.James Madison University HarrisonburgU.S.A.

Personalised recommendations