Creative Culture Analysis: A Way to Understand How an Environment Is (or Isn’t) Favorable to Creative Ideas

  • Asdrúbal Borges Formiga Sobrinho
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Creativity and Culture book series (PASCC)


How is it possible to be creative in the environment of an organization? The answer offered here is informed by a theoretical frame of creativity as a phenomenon embedded within cultural context and of communication as an action capable of changing the meaning of potential environmental constraints. The purpose is to demonstrate how individuals can or cannot influence the meaning of “hierarchy” in an organizational culture ruled by particular meanings of hierarchy built and kept through communication, but also changeable through goal oriented actions in the process of communication. Thus, the ‘Creative Culture Analysis’ outlined in this chapter is based on observing how personal cultures interact with the organizational culture in ways that make one progressively change another and possibly turn the environment more favorable to creative ideas. To understand this dynamic, the following methodological procedures were adopted in studying an organization from Brasília – Brazil: participating in weekly group meetings; identifying professional profiles and their projects; making individual interviews with three different employees to know better how each one deals with organizational constraints and what solutions they find for them; and analyzing the interviews’ thematic content by considering the environmental conditions for developing or constraining creative ideas. The results point us to the ways in which each participant contributes to progressively change, even if at a micro level, the organizational culture by generating and developing new ideas and, in doing this this, inspires colleagues to build a more creative work environment.


Creativity Communication Culture Organization Hierarchy Meaning 


  1. Albert, R. S., & Runco, M. A. (2006). A history of research on creativity. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Handbook of creativity (pp. 16–31). New York: Cambridge University.Google Scholar
  2. Alencar, E. S. L. M., & Formiga Sobrinho, A. B. (2017). A gestão da criatividade. Curitiba: Prismas.Google Scholar
  3. Amabile, T. (1996). Creativity in context. New York: Perseus Books.Google Scholar
  4. Amabile, T., & Grykiewicz, N. D. (1989). The creative environment scales: Work environment inventory. Creativity Research Journal, 2, 231–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Amabile, T., & Mueller, J. S. (2008). Studying creativity, its processes, and its antecedents: An exploration of the componential theory of creativity. In J. S. Zhou & C. E. Shalley (Eds.), Handbook of organizational creativity (pp. 33–64). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  6. Barron, F. (1995). No rootless flower: An ecology of creativity. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.Google Scholar
  7. Bauer, M. W., & Glăveanu, V. (2011). Communication as rhetoric and argumentation. In D. Hook, B. Franks, & M. Bauer. The social psychology of communication (pp. 209–228). New York: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  8. Beguetto, R. (2010). Creativity in the classroom. In J. C. Kaufman & R. J. Sternberg (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of creativity (pp. 447–463). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Branco, A. U., & Valsiner, J. (1997). A co-construtivist study of goal orientations in social interactions. Psychology and Developing Societies, 9(1), 35–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bruno-Faria, M. de F. (2003). Criatividade, inovação e mudança organizacional. In S. M. V. Lima (Org.), Mudança organizacional: Teoria e gestão (pp. 111–141). Rio de Janeiro: FGV.Google Scholar
  11. Bruno-Faria, M. de F. (2010). Indicadores de clima para a criatividade no ambiente de trabalho. In E. M. L. S. Alencar, M. de F. Bruno-Faria, & D. S. Fleith (Eds.), Medidas de criatividade (pp. 113–134). Porto Alegre: ArtMed.Google Scholar
  12. Chuang, L. (2007). The social psychology of creativity and innovation: Process theory (PT) perspective. Social Behavior and Personality, 35, 875–888.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). Creativity: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. New York: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  14. Formiga Sobrinho, A. B., & Glăveanu, V. (2017). Creativity, communicability and organizational culture: An introduction to the study of hierarchy as both a facilitator and constraint in organizational change. Creativity. Theories – Research – Applications, 4(1), 178–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Geertz, C. (1973). The interpretation of cultures. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  16. Gillespie, A. (2010). The intersubjective nature of symbols. In B. Wagoner (Org.), Symbolic transformation – The mind in movement trough culture and society (pp. 23–37). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Glăveanu, V. (2016a). The psychology of creating: A cultural-developmental approach to key dichotomies within creativity studies. In: V. P. Glăveanu (Org.), The Palgrave handbook of creativity and culture research (pp. 205–223). London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Glăveanu, V. (2016b). Introducing creativity and culture, the emerging field. In: V. P. Glăveanu (Org.), The Palgrave handbook of creativity and culture research (pp. 1–12). London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Glăveanu, V. P. (2010). Paradigms in the study of creativity: Introducing the perspective of cultural psychology. New Ideas in Psychology, 28(1), 79–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Goleman, D., Kaufman, P., & Ray, M. (1993). The creative spirit (p. 1993). New York: Plume.Google Scholar
  21. Lahlou, S., & Beaudouin, V. (2016). Creativity and culture in organizations. In: V. P. Glăveanu (Org.), The Palgrave handbook of creativity and culture research (pp. 475–498). London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lubart, T. (2007). Psicologia da criatividade. Porto Alegre: Artmed.Google Scholar
  23. Lubart, T. (2010). Cross-cultural perspectives on creativity. In J. C. Kaufman & R. J. Sternberg (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of creativity (pp. 265–278). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Machado, I. (2003). Escola de semiótica. São Paulo: Ateliê Editorial / Fapesp.Google Scholar
  25. Marcondes Filho, C. (2016). Teorias da comunicação hoje. São Paulo: Paulus.Google Scholar
  26. Martino, L. C. (2001). De qual comunicação estamos falando? In: A. Hohlfeldt, L. C. Martino, & V. V. França (Org.), Teorias da Comunicação: conceitos, escolas e tendências (pp. 11–25). Petrópolis, RJ: Vozes.Google Scholar
  27. Puccio, G. J., & Cabra, J. (2010). Organizational creativity: A systems approach. In J. C. Kaufman & R. J. Sternberg (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of creativity (pp. 145–173). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rickards, T., & Jones, L. J. (1991). Toward the identification of situational to creative behaviors: The development of a self-report inventory. Creativity Research Journal, 4(4), 302–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Runco, M. A. (1994). Creativity and its discontents. In M. P. Shaw & M. A. Runco (Eds.), Creativity and affect (pp. 102–123). Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Corporation.Google Scholar
  30. Runco, M. A. (2008). Creativity and education. New Horizons in Education, 56, 107–115.Google Scholar
  31. Russ, S. W., & Fiorelli, J. A. (2010). Developmental aproaches to creativity. In J. C. Kaufman & R. J. Sternberg (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of creativity (pp. 233–249). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Stokes, P. D. (2005). Creativity from constraints: The psychology of breakthrough. EUA: Springer.Google Scholar
  33. Stokes, P. D. (2007). Using constraints to generate and sustain novelty. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 1(2), 107–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Thompson, J. B. (1995). Ideologia e cultura moderna. Rio de Janeiro: Vozes.Google Scholar
  35. Valsiner, J. (2014a). An invitation to cultural psychology. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Valsiner, J. (2014b). Cultural Psychology and its future: Complementarity in a new key. In B. Wagoner, N. Chaudhary, & P. Hviid (Eds.), Cultural Psychology and its future: Complementarity in a new key (pp. 3–30). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing Inc.Google Scholar
  37. Valsiner, J. (2017a). From methodology to methods in human psychology. London: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Valsiner, J. (2017b). Between self and societies. Tallin: TLU Press.Google Scholar
  39. Vygotsky, L. S. (1998). Pensamento e linguagem. São Paulo: Martins Fontes.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Asdrúbal Borges Formiga Sobrinho
    • 1
  1. 1.Universidade de Brasília – UnBBrasíliaBrazil

Personalised recommendations