Creativity in/of Organizations for Managing Things to Come: Lessons to Be Learnt from Philosophy

  • Günther Ortmann
  • Jörg Sydow


Organizational creativity is essential in the face of an unknown future. In this chapter, we inspect pertinent philosophical insights into the problems and paradoxes of creation and creativity. To this end, we take care not to strain the concept of paradox, which is somewhat devalued through inflation, and to replace it, in many cases, with the concepts of complementarity, recursiveness and supplementarity. Although we refer mostly to continental philosophy, we use, rather than philosophical approaches, a selection criterion that includes problems such as the necessity of imagination of the future and, therefore, of creativity as a way to cope with its uncertainty and unknowledgeability; the tension between freedom and constraint; Plato’s search paradox; Jon Elster’s states that are not (directly) intendable; and, not least, the problem of the emergence of organizational creativity as a capacity of corporate actors. We start, however, by considering the role of escalating contingency and the opposition of creation and destruction in (hyper-)modernity and the implied ambivalence of creativity, which is recognized but mostly neglected within creativity research.



An earlier version was presented at WK ORG 2015 at the University of Zurich, Switzerland.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Günther Ortmann
    • 1
  • Jörg Sydow
    • 2
  1. 1.Universität Witten/HerdeckeWitten/HerdeckeGermany
  2. 2.Freie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany

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