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A Propulsion Perspective on Creative Contributions

Living reference work entry


This article presents a propulsion theory of creative contributions and discusses the reward system under which it operates. The theory argues that creative contributions are of three kinds – paradigm-preserving, paradigm-defying, and paradigm-integrating. Within each of these categories are various kinds of contributions that change a field in different degrees. For example, the most valued kind of creative contribution is typically a paradigm-preserving forward incrementation, which moves a field forward a bit and threatens almost no one. In contrast, a paradigm redirection attempts to move the field in a different direction, threatening the work and standing of many in a given field, who then resist the direction suggested by the contribution. Reward systems for different kinds of creative contributions can change with time and place. For example, until recently, replications were valued little and often were devalued. Today, at least in some scientific fields such as psychology, they are valued much more because of perception on the part of some scientists that many published findings have proved not to be replicable.


Propulsion theory Advance forward incrementation Conceptual replication Forward incrementation Redefinition Redirection Reconstructive/regressive redirection Reinitiation Synthesis 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human DevelopmentCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.Neag School of EducationUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  3. 3.Elizabethtown CollegeElizabethtownUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Izabela Lebuda

There are no affiliations available