We aimed to investigate the relationship between lower levels of agreeableness (i.e., disagreeableness) and innovation process such as idea generation, promotion, and group utilization, as well as potential contextual moderators of these relationships.
In the first laboratory study (n = 201), we examined links among individual and group measures of agreeableness, originality of ideas generated, and group utilization of ideas. In a second laboratory study (n = 291), we utilized confederates in an on-line environment to investigate the originality of ideas shared with group members after manipulating both feedback and originality of ideas generated by others.
In study 1, disagreeableness was generally unrelated to the originality of ideas generated, but positively related to group utilization of ideas. Similar trends were observed in study 2 with the caveat that disagreeableness was positively linked to originality of ideas shared only when the social context was unsupportive of novel ideas and confederate group members shared original ideas.
Disagreeable personalities may be helpful in combating the challenges faced in the innovation process, but social context is also critical. In particular, an environment supportive of original thinking may negate the utility of disagreeableness and, in fact, disagreeableness may hamper the originality of ideas shared.
Few studies have investigated the relationship between disagreeableness and originality and even fewer have examined both the social context and stage of innovation in which these relationships may occur. Results suggest there is value in considering each in future investigations.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Amabile, T. M., & Conti, R. (1999). Changes in the work environment for creativity during downsizing. Academy of Management Journal, 42, 630–640.
Anderson, C., Lindsay, J. J., & Bushman, B. J. (1999). Research in the psychology laboratory: Truth or triviality? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 8, 3–9.
Anderson, N., Potocnik, K., & Zhou, J. (2014). Innovation and creativity in organizations: A state of science review, prospective commentary, and guiding framework. Journal of Management, 40, 1297–1333.
Anderson, N., & West, M. A. (1996). The team climate inventory: Development of the TCI and its applications in teambuilding for innovativeness. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 5, 53–66.
Anderson, N. R., & West, M. A. (1998). Measuring climate for work group innovation: Development and validation of the team climate inventory. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 19, 235–258.
Ashford, S. J., Blatt, R., & VandeWalle, D. (2003). Reflections on the looking glass: A review of research on feedback-seeking behaviors in organizations. Journal of Management, 29(6), 773–799.
Ashton, M. C., & Lee, K. (2007). Empirical, theoretical, and practical advantages of the HEXACO model of personality structure. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 11, 150–166.
Austen, B. (2012, August). The story of Steve Jobs: An inspiration of cautionary tale? Wired Magazine. pp.73–78.
Axtell, C. M., Holman, D. J., Unsworth, K. L., Wall, T. D., & Waterson, P. E. (2000). Shopfloor innovation: Facilitating the suggestion and implementation of ideas. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 73, 265–285.
Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prencitce-Hall.
Barron, F., & Harrington, D. (1981). Creativity, intelligence, and personality. Annual Review of Psychology, 32, 439–476.
Basadur, M., Runco, M. A., & Vega, L. A. (2000). Understanding how creative thinking skills, attitudes and behaviors work together: A casual process model. Journal of Creative Behavior, 34, 77–100.
Batey, M., & Furnham, A. (2006). Creativity, intelligence, and personality: A critical review of the scattered literature. Genetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs, 132, 355–429.
Berger, R. M., Guilford, J. P., & Christensen, P. R. (1957). A factor-analytic study of planning abilities. Psychological Monographs, 71, 1–31.
Besemer, S. P., & O’Quin, K. (1999). Confirming the three-factor creative products analysis matrix model in an American sample. Creativity Research Journal, 12, 287–296.
Blair, C. S., & Mumford, M. D. (2007). Errors in idea evaluation: Preference for the unoriginal? The Journal of Creative Behavior, 41, 27–38.
Blank, S. (2013). Why the lean start-up changes everything. Harvard Business Review, 91, 63–72.
Boatman, J. E., & Wellins, R. S. (2011). Global leadership forecast 2011. Pittsburgh, PA: Development Dimensions International.
Brown, B., & Anthony, S. D. (2011). How P&G tripled its innovation success rate. Harvard Business Review, 89, 64–72.
Burch, G. J. (2006). The “creative-schizotype”: Help or hindrance to team-level innovation? University of Auckland Business Review, 8, 43–53.
Burch, G. S., Pavelis, C., Hemsley, D. R., & Corr, P. J. (2006). Schizotypy and creativity in visual artists. British Journal of Psychology, 97, 177–190.
Choi, J. N. (2004). Individual and contextual predictors of creative performance: The mediating role of psychological processes. Creativity Research Journal, 16, 187–199.
Cleveland, J. N., Lim, A. S., & Murphy, K. R. (2007). Feedback phobia? Why employees do not want to give or receive performance feedback. In J. Langan-Fox & C. L. Cooper (Eds.), Research companion to the dysfunctional workplace: Management challenges and symptoms (pp. 168–186). London: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Cohen, J., Cohen, P., West, S. G., & Aiken, L. S. (2003). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc.
Colquitt, J. A. (2008). From the editors: Publishing laboratory research in AMJ: A question of when, not if. Academy of Management Journal, 51, 616–620.
Cook, T. D., & Campbell, D. T. (1979). Quasi-experimentation: Design & analysis issues for field settings. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cooper, R. G. (1990). New products: What distinguishes the winders? Research Technology Management, 33(6), 27–31.
Cooper, R. G., & Kleinschmidt, E. J. (1986). An investigation into the new product process: Steps, deficiencies, and impact. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 3, 71–85.
Costa, P. T., McCrae, R. R., & Dye, D. D. (1991). Facet scales for agreeableness and conscientiousness: A revision of the NEO Personality Inventory. Personality and Individual Differences, 12, 887–889.
Crawford, C. M. (1977). Marketing research and the new product failure rate. Journal of Marketing, 41, 51–61.
Cruz, G. (2010, April). A star is born: Thomas Edison. Time Magazine. Retrieved from, http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1981000_1980999_1981124,00.html
Dawson, J., & Richter, A. W. (2006). Probing three-way interactions in moderated multiple regression: Development and application of a slope difference test. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91, 917–926.
Feist, G. J. (1998). A meta-analysis of personality in scientific and artistic creativity. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 2, 290–309.
Fiske, S. T., & Taylor, S. E. (1991). Social cognition. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Frese, M., Teng, E., & Wijnen, C. J. D. (1999). Helping to improve suggestion systems: Predictors of giving suggestions in companies. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 20, 1139–1155.
Frey, M. C., & Detterman, D. K. (2004). Scholastic assessment or g? The relationship between the scholastic assessment test and general cognitive ability. Psychological Science, 15, 373–377.
Goldberg, L. R. (1990). An alternative “description of personality”: The big-five factor structure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59, 1216–1229.
Goldberg, L. R. (1999). A broad-bandwith, public domain, personality inventory measuring the lower-level facets of several five-factor models. In I. Mervielde, I. Deary, F. De Fruyt, & F. Ostendorf (Eds.), Personality Psychology in Europe (Vol. 7, pp. 7–28). Tilburg: Tilburg University Press.
Goldberg, L. R., Johnson, J. A., Eber, H. W., Hogan, R., Ashton, M. C., Cloninger, C. R., et al. (2006). The International Personality Item Pool and the future of public-domain personality measures. Journal of Research in Personality, 40, 84–96.
Hall, W. B., & MacKinnon, D. W. (1969). Personality inventory correlates of creativity among architects. Journal of Applied Psychology, 53, 322–326.
Highhouse, S., & Gillespie, J. Z. (2009). Do samples really matter that much? In C. E. Lance & R. J. Vandenberg (Eds.), Statistical and methodological myths and urban legends: Doctrine, verity, and fable in the organizational and social sciences (pp. 249–267). New York: Routledge.
Hoff, E. V., Carlsson, I. M., & Smith, G. J. W. (2013). Personality. In M. D. Mumford (Ed.), Handbook of Organizational Creativity (pp. 241–270). London: Elsevier.
Hoffman, D. A., & Gavin, M. B. (1998). Centering decisions in hierarchical linear models: Implications for research in organizations. Journal of Management, 24, 623–641.
Howell, J. M., & Boies, K. (2004). Champions of technological innovation: The influence of contextual knowledge on role orientation, idea generation, and idea promotion on champion emergence. The Leadership Quarterly, 15, 123–143.
Jackman, J., & Strober, M. (2003). Fear of feedback. Harvard Business Review, 81, 101–107.
Janssen, O. (2000). Job demands, perceptions of effort-reward fairness, and innovative work behavior. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 73, 287–302.
Janssen, O. (2005). The joint impact of perceived influence and supervisor supportiveness on employee innovative behavior. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 78, 573–579.
Kim, K. H. (2008). Meta-analyses of the relationship of creative achievement to both IQ and divergent thinking test scores. Journal of Creative Behavior, 42, 107–130.
Kim, T., Hon, A. H. Y., & Lee, D. (2010). Proactive personality and employee creativity: The effects of job creativity requirement and supervisor support for creativity. Creativity Research Journal, 22, 37–45.
King, L. A., McKee Walker, L., & Broyles, S. J. (1996). Creativity and the five-factor model. Journal of Research in Personality, 30, 189–203.
Klein, K. J., & Kozlowski, (2000). Multilevel theory, research, and methods in organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Kuncel, N. R., Crede, M., & Thomas, L. L. (2005). The validity of self-reported grade point averages, class ranks, and test scores: A meta-analysis and review of the literature. Review of Educational Research, 75, 63–82.
Lee, K., Ogunfowora, B., & Ashton, M. C. (2005). Personality traits beyond the big five: Are they within the HEXACO space? Journal of Personality, 73, 1438–1463.
LePine, J. A., & Van Dyne, L. (2006). Voice and cooperative behavior as contrasting forms of contextual performance: Evidence of differential relationships with big five personality characteristics and cognitive ability. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86, 326–336.
Lim, H. S., & Choi, J. N. (2009). Testing an alternative relationship between individual and contextual predictors of creative performance. Social Behavior and Personality, 37, 117–135.
Ma, H. H. (2009). The effect size of variables associated with creativity: A meta-analysis. Creativity Research Journal, 21, 30–42.
Madjar, N., Oldham, G. R., & Pratt, M. G. (2002). There’s no place like home? The contributions of work and non-work creativity support to employees’ creative performance. Academy of Management Journal, 45, 757–767.
Marks, G. (2011). Steve Jobs was a jerk. Good for him. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/quickerbettertech/2011/10/10/steve-jobs-was-a-jerk-good-for-him/
Martin, B. (2013). Difficult Men. New York: Penguin Press.
McCrae, R. R. (1987). Creativity, divergent thinking, and openness to experience. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 1258–1265.
McDermid, C. D. (1965). Some correlates of creativity in engineering personnel. Journal of Applied Psychology, 49, 14–19.
Meng, Xiao-Li, Rosenthal, R., & Rubin, D. B. (1992). Comparing correlated correlation coefficients. Psychological Bulletin, 111, 172–175.
Miron-Spektor, E., Erez, M., & Naveh, E. (2011). The effect of conformist and attentive-to-detail members on team innovation: Reconciling the innovation paradox. Academy of Management Journal, 54, 740–760.
Montag, T., Maertz, C. P., & Baer, M. (2012). A critical analysis of the workplace creativity criterion space. Journal of Management, 38(4), 1362–1386.
Mohammed, S., & Nadkarni, S. (2011). Temporal diversity and team performance: The moderating role of team temporal leadership. Academy of Management Journal, 54, 489–508.
Mook, D. G. (1983). In defense of external invalidity. American Psychologist, 38, 379–387.
Mueller, J. S., & Kamdar, D. (2011). Why seeking help from teammates is a blessing and a curse: A theory of help seeking and individual creativity in team contexts. Journal of Applied Psychology, 96, 263–276.
Mueller, J. S., Melwani, S., & Goncalco, J. A. (2011). The bias against creativity: Why people desire but reject creative ideas. Psychological Science, 23, 13–17.
Mumford, M., & Gustafson, S. (1988). Creativity syndrome: Integration, application, and innovation. Psychological Bulletin, 103, 27–43.
Mumford, M. D., & Hunter, S. T. (2005). Innovation in organizations: A multi-level perspective on creativity. In F. J. Yammarino & F. Dansereau (Eds.), Research in multi-level issues (Vol. IV, pp. 11–74). Oxford, England: Elsevier.
Murray, H. A. (1938). Explorations in personality. New York: Oxford University Press.
Nemeth, C. (1986). Differential contributions of majority vs minority influence. Psychological Review, 93, 23–32.
Nezlek, J. B., & Zyzniewski, L. E. (1998). Using hierarchical linear modeling to analyze grouped data. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 2, 313–320.
Ohly, S., Sonnentag, S., & Pluntke, F. (2006). Routinization, work characteristics, and their relationships with creative and proactive behaviors. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 27, 257–279.
Oldham, G. R., & Cummings, A. (1996). Employee creativity: Personal and contextual factors at work. Academy of Management Journal, 39, 607–634.
Paulus, P. B., Dzindolet, M., & Kohn, N. W. (2013). Collaborative creativity—Group creativity and team innovation. In M. D. Mumford (Ed.), Handbook of Organizational Creativity (pp. 327–357). London: Elsevier.
Pirola-Merlo, A., & Mann, L. (2004). The relationship between individual creativity and team creativity: Aggregating across people and time. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 25, 235–257.
Ragazzoni, R., Baiardi, P., Zotti, A. M., Anderson, N., & West, M. (2002). Italian validation of the team climate inventory: A measure of team climate for innovation. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 17, 325–336.
Redmond, M. R., Mumford, M. D., & Teach, R. (1993). Putting creativity to work: Effects of leader behavior on subordinate creativity. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 55, 120–153.
Silvia, P. J., Kaufman, J. C., Reiter-Palmon, R., & Wigert, B. (2011). Cantankerous creativity: Honesty-humility, agreeableness, and the HEXACO structure of creative achievement. Personality and Individual Differences, 51, 687–689.
Somech, A., & Drach-Zahavy, A. (2013). Translating team creativity to innovation implementation: The role of team composition and climate for innovation. Journal of Management, 39, 684–708.
Sternberg, R. J., & O’Hara, L. A. (1999). Creativity and intelligence. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Handbook of creativity (pp. 251–272). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Taggar, S. (2002). Individual creativity and group ability to utilize individual creative resources: A multilevel model. Academy of Management Journal, 43, 315–330.
Tett, R. P., & Burnett, D. D. (2003). A personality trait-based interactionist model of job performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88, 500–517.
Tett, R. P., & Guterman, H. A. (2000). Situation trait relevance, trait expression, and cross-situational consistency: Testing a principle of trait activation. Journal of Research in Personality, 34, 397–423.
Tierney, P., & Farmer, S. M. (2004). The Pygmalion process and employee creativity. Journal of Management, 30, 413–432.
Unsworth, K. L., Wall, T. D., & Carter, A. (2005). Creative requirement: A neglected construct in the study of employee creativity? Group and Organization Management, 30, 541–550.
Vincent, A. S., Decker, B. P., & Mumford, M. D. (2002). Divergent thinking, intelligence, and expertise: A test of alternative models. Creativity Research Journal, 14, 163–178.
Woodman, R. W., Sawyer, J. E., & Griffin, R. W. (1993). Toward a theory of organizational creativity. Academy of Management Review, 18, 293–321.
Zhou, J. (2003). When the presence of creative coworkers is related to creativity: Role of supervisor close monitoring, developmental feedback, and creative personality. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88, 413–422.
Zhou, J., & George, J. M. (2001). When job dissatisfaction leads to creativity: Encouraging the expression of voice. Academy of Management Journal, 44, 682–696.
You have been asked to develop a new advertising campaign for *University X*. Specifically, given the growth of the on-line campus here at *University X*, we would like you to develop a marketing campaign aimed at improving awareness and increasing excitement about the new options available. You have a sizable budget and relatively few constraints in your endeavor. Good luck!
Each year [this university] has thousands of students visit campus to decide if they should choose this school to receive their education. During this visit, students see our campus and all of the senior gifts that have been donated to it. What we would like you to do is to think of new senior gifts that would enhance our campus and make it more attractive to incoming students. The gifts can be temporary, unlike previous gifts, and range in price from $1,000 to $30,000. Describe your gift, what it would look like, where it would be placed and how it might operate. Finally, describe what you think the impact would be on visiting students and their parents.
In 25 years from now, what will it be like to live on campus? Describe what the dorms would look like, what kind of amenities they would offer, and how this would help students. Consider student’s typical daily life as well specific times of the school year. You can also think about areas the students share such as dining facilities, the gym, parking lots, and study areas.”
SUPPORTIVE FEEDBACK Confederates will draw from this response category using these responses as guidelines. Reponses may be altered slightly to fit the nature of the exchange. These alterations may include the discussion of specific elements of the participant’s ideas to add fidelity to the interactions.
I think that is a great idea—it could really work!
I really like the part where you (insert specific comment here)—that makes a lot of sense.
Students would really like that; what a cool idea.
Nice job on that—I think it’s very creative.
UNSUPPORTIVE FEEDBACK Confederates will draw from this response category using these responses as guidelines. Reponses may be altered slightly to fit the nature of the exchange. These alterations may include the discussion of specific elements of the participant’s ideas to add fidelity to the interactions.
I don’t think that’s a very good idea—I doubt it would work.
I don’t really like the part where you (insert specific comment here)—it doesn’t make a lot of sense.
I don’t think students would really like it very much.
I don’t think that idea is very creative; seems like it’s been done before.
About this article
Cite this article
Hunter, S.T., Cushenbery, L. Is Being a Jerk Necessary for Originality? Examining the Role of Disagreeableness in the Sharing and Utilization of Original Ideas. J Bus Psychol 30, 621–639 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-014-9386-1