Creativity and a Human Dichotomy: Individual or Part of a Team?

Part of the Creativity in the Twenty First Century book series (CTFC)


Despite the increasing realization of the importance of creativity and innovation , there is little in the way of practical guidance regards their implementation into an organizational environment. This lack of guidance, stems in part at least, from a lack of understanding of the core processes that stimulate or undermine people’s motivation to be creative. This, in turn, may be caused by a traditional view of creativity being viewed as an attribute of ‘special’ people with less consideration for the social and environmental aspects of the structure within which innovation occurs. The individual versus the group model of creative behavior outlined in this chapter attempts to go some way to redressing this imbalance, and outlines creativity as a fundamental human attribute that represents our need to be distinct and individual. Watching my five year-old granddaughter growing up, I am struck by the fact that every day she has a thought that leads to an action that is a little bit different than before. That is to say, every day she thinks something or generates an idea that changes her world in some small way. This seemingly rather trivial observation has fundamental implications for the role of creativity in our development, our organizations, our lives, and ultimately, the evolution of the human race. In other words, the process of growing up, observing, learning and making choices is intimately linked to the creative process, and one that we all go through. Whether organizations or children are our focus, when studying creativity maybe we should be studying it as a social phenomenon first, and understand that, before we increase the magnification of our research microscopes down to the individual level. Secondly, since my granddaughter’s creative curiosity is a natural, frequent, and possibly universal, phenomenon, perhaps we might find it more profitable to study creativity from the perspective: What is it about our socialization processes that, in some cases, suppresses our motivation to be creative as we mature? Indeed, there is increasing research interest in examining our organisations in the same way and asking: What is it within them that enhances or undermines individuals’ motivation to be creative?


Organizational Context Creative Process Creativity Research Creative Product Creative Problem 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Abrams, D., & Hogg, M. A. (1990). Social identification, self-categorization and social influence. European Review of Social Psychology, 1, 195–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adarves-Yorno, I., Postmes, T., & Haslam, S. A. (2006). Social identity and the recognition of creativity in groups. British Journal of Social Psychology, 45, 479–497.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Amabile, T. M. (1996). Creativity in context. Boulder, CO: Westview.Google Scholar
  4. Amabile, T. M., & Pillemer, J. (2012). Perspectives on the social psychology of creativity. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 46, 3–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Anderson, N., Potočnik, K., & Zhou, J. (2014). Innovation and creativity in organizations a state-of-the-science review, prospective commentary, and guiding framework. Journal of Management, 40, 1297–1333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Anti-polio Vaccine Guaranteed by Salk. (1953, November 13). The new york times.Google Scholar
  7. Barron, F. (1955). The disposition toward originality. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 51, 478–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Barron, F., & Harrington, D. M. (1981). Creativity, intelligence, and personality. Annual Review of Psychology, 32, 439–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 177, 497–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Becker, E. (1973). The denial of death. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  11. Bettenhausen, K. L., & Murnighan, J. K. (1991). The development of an intergroup norm and the effects of interpersonal and structural challenges. Administrative Science Quarterly, 36, 20–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bhawuk, D. P. (2003). Culture’s influence on creativity: The case of Indian spirituality. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 27, 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Birenbaum, A., & Sagarin, E. (1976). Norms and human behavior. New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  14. Blackburn, R., & Rosen, B. (1994). Human resource management practices and total quality management. Atlanta, GA: Paper presented at the meeting of the Academy of Management.Google Scholar
  15. Brandstätter, V., Herrmann, M., & Schüler, J. (2013). The struggle of giving up personal goals affective, physiological, and cognitive consequences of an action crisis. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 39, 1668–1682.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Brewer, M. B. (1991). The social self: On being the same and different at the same time. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 17, 475–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Brown, V. R., & Paulus, P. B. (2002). Making group brainstorming more effective: Recommendations from an associative memory perspective. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 11, 208–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Bruner, J. (1962). The conditions of creativity. In H. Gruber, G. Terrell, & M. Wertheimer (Eds.), Contemporary approaches to creative thinking. New York: Atherton Press.Google Scholar
  19. Chu, S. & Townes, C. (2003). Arthur schawlow. In Edward, P. L. (Ed.), Biographical memoirs. 83 (p. 202). National Academy of Sciences.Google Scholar
  20. Connolly, T., Routhieaux, R. L., & Schneider, S. K. (1993). On the effectiveness of group brainstorming: Test of an underlying cognitive mechanism. Small Group Research, 24, 490–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Culshaw, J. (1950). Rachmaninov: The man and his music. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  22. De Dreu, C. K., Nijstad, B. A., & van Knippenberg, D. (2008). Motivated information processing in group judgment and decision making. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 12, 22–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Deaux, K., & Reid, A. (2000). Contemplating collectivism. In S. Stryker, T. J. Owens, & R. W. White (Eds.), Self, identity, and social movements (pp. 175–190). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  24. Diehl, M., & Stroebe, W. (1987). Productivity loss in brainstorming groups: Toward the solution of a riddle. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53, 497.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Diehl, M., & Stroebe, W. (1991). Productivity loss in idea-generating groups: Tracking down the blocking effect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 392–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Earley, P. C. (1993). East meets West meets Mideast: Further explorations of collectivistic and individualistic work groups. Academy of Management Journal, 36, 319–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Earley, P. C., & Gibson, C. B. (1998). Taking stock in our progress on individualism-collectivism: 100 years of solidarity and community. Journal of Management, 24, 265–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Elder, G. H., & Clipp, E. C. (1988). Wartime losses and social bonding: Influence across 40 years in men’s lives. Psychiatry, 51, 177–198.Google Scholar
  29. Forsyth, D. R. (2006). Group dynamics. Belmont, CA: Thomson.Google Scholar
  30. Freud, S. (1908). Creative writers and day-dreaming. Standard edition, 9, 141–153Google Scholar
  31. Friedman, R. S., & Forster, J. (2001). The effects of promotion and prevention cues on creativity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81, 1001–1013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Friedman, R. S., & Forster, J. (2002). The influence of approach and avoidance motor actions on creative cognition. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 38, 41–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Friedman, R. S., & Forster, J. (2005). Effects of motivational cues on perceptual asymmetry: Implications for creativity and analytical problem solving. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88, 263–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Gilovich, T., Keltner, D., & Nisbett, R. (2006). Social psychology. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  35. Grassian, S. (1983). Psychopathological effects of solitary confinement. American Journal of Psychiatry, 140, 1450–1454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Greenberg, J., Solomon, S., & Pyszczynski, T. (1997). Terror management theory of self-esteem and cultural worldviews: Empirical assessments and conceptual refinements. Waltham: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  37. Haslam, S. A., Adarves-Yorno, I., Postmes, T., & Jans, L. (2013). The collective origins of valued originality: A social identity approach to creativity. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 17, 384–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hirst, G., Van Knippenberg, D., & Zhou, J. (2009). A cross-level perspective on employee creativity: Goal orientation, team learning behavior, and individual creativity. Academy of Management Journal, 52, 280–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Ho, D. Y. F. (1993). Relational orientation in Asian social psychology. In U. Kim & J. W. Berry (Eds.), Indigenous psychologies: Research and experience in cultural context (pp. 240–259). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  40. Ho, D. Y. F., & Chiu, C. (1994). Component ideas of individualism, collectivism, and social organization: An application in the study of Chinese culture. In U. Kim, H. C. Triandis, C. Kagitcibasi, S. Choi, & G. Yoon (Eds.), Individualism and collectivism: theory, method and applications (pp. 200–212). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  41. Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture’s consequences: International differences in work-related values. Beverley Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  42. Hofstede, G. (1991). Cultures and organizations: Software of the mind. London: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
  43. Janis, I., & Mann, L. (1977). Decision making: A psychological analysis of conflict, choice, and commitment. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  44. Kabanoff, B., & Rossiter, J. (1993). Recent developments in applied creativity. International Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 9, 283–324.Google Scholar
  45. Karau, S. J., & Williams, K. D. (1993). Social loafing: A meta-analytic review and theoretical integration. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 681–706.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Krumm, D. J. (2000). Psychology at work: An introduction to industrial/organizational psychology. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  47. Lamm, H., & Trommsdorff, G. (1973). Group versus individual performance on tasks requiring ideational proficiency (brainstorming): A review. European Journal of Social Psychology, 3, 361–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Maslow, A. H. (1968). Toward a psychology of being. New York: Van Nostrand.Google Scholar
  49. Mednick, S. A. (1962). The associative basis of the creative process. Psychological Review, 69, 220–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Miron-Spektor, E., Gino, F., & Argote, L. (2011). Paradoxical frames and creative sparks: Enhancing individual creativity through conflict and integration. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 116, 229–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Mullen, B., Johnson, C., & Salas, E. (1991). Productivity loss in brainstorming groups: A meta-analytic integration. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 12, 3–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Newcomb, T. M. (1958). Attitude development as a function of reference groups: The Bennington study. In E. E. Maccoby, T. M. Newcomb, & E. L. Hartley (Eds.), Readings in social psychology (pp. 265–275). New York: Holt.Google Scholar
  53. Newell, A., Shaw, J. C., & Simon, H. (1967). The process of creative thinking. In H. Gruber, G. Terrel, & M. Wertheimer (Eds.), Contemporary approaches to creative thinking (pp. 63–119). New York: Atherton.Google Scholar
  54. Oldham, G. R., & Cummings, A. (1996). Employee creativity: Personal and contextual factors at work. Academy of Management Journal, 39, 607–634.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. O’Reilly, C. A., & Chatman, J. (1996). Cultures as social control: Corporations, cults, and commitment. In A. Cummings & B. M. Staw (Eds.), Research in organizational behavior (Vol. 18, pp. 157–200). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  56. Osborn, A. F. (1948). Your creative power. New York: Scribner.Google Scholar
  57. Osborn, A. F. (1957). Applied imagination. New York: Scribner.Google Scholar
  58. Oyserman, D. (1993). The lens of personhood: Viewing the self and others in a multicultural society. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 993–1009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Oyserman, D., Coon, H., & Kemmelmeier, M. (2002). Rethinking individualism and collectivism: Evaluation of theoretical assumptions and meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 128, 3–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Paulus, P. B. (2002). Different ponds for different fish: A contrasting perspective on team innovation. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 51, 394–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Paulus, P. B., & Dzindolet, M. T. (1993). Social influence processes in group brainstorming. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64, 575–586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Paulus, P. B., & Nijstad, B. A. (2003). Group creativity: An introduction. In P. B. Paulus & B. A. Nijstad (Eds.), Group creativity: Innovation through collaboration (pp. 3–11). New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Paulus, P. B., & Yang, H. C. (2000). Idea generation in groups: A basis for creativity in organizations. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 82, 76–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Penner, L., Brannick, M. T., Webb, S., & Connell, P. (2005). Effects on volunteering of the September 11, 2001, attacks: An archival analysis. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 35, 1333–1360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Piasecki, B. (2013). Why teams matter more than ever: Collaboration is critical in today’s economy. Public Management, 95, 12–15.Google Scholar
  66. Rank, O. (1932/1989). Art and artist: Creative urge and personality development. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
  67. Rank, J., Pace, V. L., & Frese, M. (2004). Three avenues for future research on creativity, innovation, and initiative. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 53, 518–528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Rofe, Y. (1984). Stress and affiliation: A utility theory. Psychological Review, 91, 235–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Schachter, S. (1959). The psychology of affiliation: Experimental studies of the sources of gregariousness. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  70. Schwartz, S. H. (1990). Individualism-collectivism: Critique and proposed refinements. Journal of Cross Cultural Psychology, 21, 139–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Shalley, C. E., & Zhou, J. (2008). Organizational creativity research: A historical overview. In Handbook of organizational creativity (pp. 3–31).Google Scholar
  72. Sherif, M. (1936). The Psychology of Social Norms. Oxford, U.K.: Harper.Google Scholar
  73. Simonton, D. K. (1988). Scientific genius: A Psychology of Science. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  74. Smith, G. J. W., & Van der Meer, G. (1994). Creativity through psychosomatics. Creativity Research Journal, 7, 159–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Snyder, C. R., & Fromkin, H. L. (1980). Uniqueness: The Human pursuit of difference. New York: Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Stein, M. (1974). Stimulating creativity (Vol. 1). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  77. Sternberg, R. J. (1999). A propulsion model of types of creative contributions. Review of General Psychology, 3, 83–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Thompson, L. L. (2003). Making the team: A guide for managers. Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  79. Triandis, H. C. (1995). Individualism and collectivism. Boulder, CO: Westview.Google Scholar
  80. Unsworth, K. (2001). Unpacking creativity. Academy of Management Review, 26, 289–297.Google Scholar
  81. Van der Meer, J. D. (1996). Profile of an innovative organisation. In J. Prokopenko & K. North (Eds.), Productivity and quality management: A modular programme. Geneva: ILO.Google Scholar
  82. Van Maanen, J. (1991). The smile factory: Work at Disneyland. In P. J. Frost, M. R. Louis, C. C. Lundberg, & J. Martin (Eds.), Reframing organizational culture (pp. 58–76). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  83. Voronov, M., & Singer, J. (2002). The myth of individualism-collectivism: A critical review. Journal of Social Psychology, 142, 461–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Walton, R. E. (1980). Establishing and maintaining high commitment work systems. In J. R. Kimberly (Ed.), The organizational life cycle: Issues in the creation, transformation, and decline of organizations (pp. 208–290). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  85. Walton, A. P., & Kemmelmeier, M. (2012). Creativity in its social context: The interplay of organizational norms, situational threat, and gender. Creativity Research Journal, 24, 208–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Whyte, W. F. (1943). Street corner society. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  87. Woodman, R. W., Sawyer, J. E., & Griffin, R. W. (1993). Toward a theory of organizational creativity. Academy of Management Review, 18, 293–321.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Visiting Professor of Creativity and EntrepreneurshipUniversity of South WalesWalesUK

Personalised recommendations