تجربه خلاقیت در سازمان: رویکرد عملی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|2214||2008||20 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||9990 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Long Range Planning, Volume 41, Issue 4, August 2008, Pages 420–439
In this paper I ask the question: What is the practice of creativity in organisations? I draw on “practice” theories to define creativity at the individual level as novel and appropriate ways of accomplishing tasks, and at the organisational level as the operating logic and internalised dispositions that inform activities. By integrating the two levels, I suggest that we are better able to understand the dynamics of creativity. Empirically I investigate creativity in a large UK supermarket retailer undergoing major change and transformation. My study reveals four domains of contestation that characterise the practice of creativity: intrinsic-extrinsic motivation; pleasure-control; organisational politics; and personal-corporate morality. I discuss how managers experience the tensions within each domain and argue that personal morality plays an important role in enabling creativity.
In spite of much discussion about creativity and innovation, few managers can live up to the idealised creative genius. While most managers may not even see themselves as a creative genius, they do demonstrate a remarkable ability to respond creatively and cope with organisational uncertainties. In this article, I focus on what managers do creatively in response to organisational situations. I provide insights into managers' creativity by drawing on two unexplored avenues. First, I draw on a body of theoretical work that has recently gained prominence in academic writings on management. These ideas, broadly labelled a “practice” approach, form a cluster of theoretical insights into “human doings” in an organisational context. Second, empirically I draw upon insights from the supermarket retailing industry, a sector that does not play a major role in our understanding of creativity. The retailing industry is generally associated with innovations in supply chains and distribution (e.g. Wal-Mart, Amazon and Tesco). However, I argue that a study of supermarkets offers insights into managerial and organisational creativity that has not been explored and has the potential to inform companies in other industries. The notion of creativity articulated in this paper combines the two levels of analysis evident in the extant creativity literature – individual and organisational level – by drawing on practice theories.1 Traditionally, individual creativity is defined as a person's ability to think beyond the obvious and produce something novel and appropriate. However, creativity for individuals in organisations is something that gets a job done, rather than being merely novel and appropriate. Managers do not “make up” something that is novel and appropriate; they accomplish something in a novel and appropriate way. As an accomplishment, creativity is the ability to “make do”, to search for simplicity, to be metistic, to demonstrate economy of effort in achieving maximum results by being sensitive to the “opportune moment”.2 In this sense, creativity for managers is inseparable from the everyday struggles and pleasures that they experience. Traditionally, creativity at the organisational level is defined as the culture, structure and processes that nurture individual creativity. In one of the early empirical studies, Pelz and Andrews suggest that one cannot look at the individual in isolation from the organisational context. “High creative ability might be likened to a hardy seed, which yields blossoms when sown on fertile ground, but only thorns when falling on infertile ground.”3 Some of the frequently-stated organisational correlates of creativity are a culture that encourages ideas and enterprise from all parts of the organisation and is tolerant of failure, non-hierarchical and non-bureaucratic structures that reward and encourage flexibility and cross-fertilisation of ideas, and processes that enable ideas to be systematically evaluated and championed. These cultural, structural and processual factors have been popularised through exemplary organisations such as 3M and IDEO.4 To this definition of organisational creativity I add the notion of “operating logic” which forms systems of durable, transposable dispositions and trajectories that engender “an infinite capacity for generating products – thoughts, perceptions, expressions and actions – whose limits are set by the historically and socially situated conditions of its production”.5 By operating logic, I mean the “feel for the game”; the everyday creativity of managers is brought into view by way of their underpinning operational logic. In this paper I draw upon these definitions of individual and organisational creativity to analyse how individuals experience creativity in organisations.Managers do not “make up” something that is novel and appropriate; they accomplish something in a novel and appropriate way Empirically, I analyse the creativity imperative facing UK supermarkets. Although the industry has been dominated by the “big four” – Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury and Safeway-Morrison – since the 1990s, there has been a wave of innovations by Tesco giving it an ever-increasing march on its competitors.6 The rise and dominance of Tesco in recent years and its capability to innovate constantly has forced other supermarkets to innovate. Most supermarkets realise that they need to facilitate individual creativity and engage in transforming their internal culture, structure and processes if they are to remain competitive. In spite of the drive for creativity in the supermarket industry, empirical studies on creativity are generally dominated by technology-orientated industries and companies, such as 3M, Microsoft and HP, as well as R&D labs in technological companies, for example, Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre (PARC) and Silicon Valley and historical studies of Edison's Menlo Park, as well as famous inventors such as Edison and Marie Curie.7 In recent years, “creative industries” have become part of creativity research. Although the aim of the creative industries is to bridge the gap between art and industry, they are at present dominated by the art, media, design, advertising, film and games industries.8 Technological and creative industry studies have no doubt enriched our understanding of creativity, but they do exclude a wide range of companies. In this paper I aim to redress the imbalance in creativity studies by looking at creativity at Unico,1 one of the largest supermarkets in the UK. My study identifies some important issues in understanding creativity. First, I demonstrate the importance of seeing creativity across individual and organisational levels by defining creativity in terms of managerial practice and the operating logics that guide practices. Second, rather than treating creativity as an object of analysis, a detailed case study such as this demonstrates how managers experience various issues of creativity such as motivation and pleasure. It also demonstrates the significance of organisational politics for creativity. Third, my study highlights how creative managerial action is held together by moral judgments and sentiments which are more often overlooked in studies on creativity. I argue that it is important to understand the presuppositions and operating logics of personal morality. If creativity is to be truly collaborative, social and global, rather than about the lone genius, we need to understand better the diverse personal backgrounds, social institutions and national cultures, and how individuals make judgments about rights and wrongs in their practices. The structure of the paper is as follows. First, I examine the existing literature on individual creativity and the creative organisation. Second, I outline a “practice” approach and identify the main differences between this theoretical position and other theories of creativity. Third, I present the case of Unico, a large UK supermarket, and discuss the implications for individual creativity and managing a creative organisation.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The primary aim of this study was to examine the practice of creativity by integrating individual and organisational levels of analysis. From a practice approach, creativity is defined as the general dispositions and operational logic that guides managerial actions. One of the main criticisms of traditional creativity research is that it is overly biased by psychological studies that define and research creativity in non-organisational settings. By moving to a practice approach, I provide a definition of creativity that is more relevant to managers as managers. My empirical study, based on a large UK supermarket retailer, also departs from traditional settings such as R&D labs, technological companies and creative industries. By analysing managers' experience at Unico, this study has revealed how managers' experience four distinct but interrelated tensions and contestations. My findings suggest that the tensions between intrinsic-extrinsic motivation, organisational politics and pleasure play an important role in organisational creativity. Importantly, however, my findings reveal that these three contestations do not completely capture how managers experience creativity. In particular, my findings show that managers experience a contestation of personal morality which acts as an important contextual influence on how managers experience creativity. By shifting the focus from identifying characteristics of individual and organisational creativity which takes an objective approach to creativity, to a practice approach which emphasises internalised dispositions, practical logic and “making do” in accomplishing tasks, my study provides new insights into creativity. In the following sections, I examine the contribution of my study in terms of motivation, organisational politics, pleasure and morality. The importance of motivation for creativity cannot be overstated. Motivation can be informational, enabling or controlling.27 Furthermore, once we move the emphasis away from the motivation of the creative person in general to managerial practice we can see that there is a contestation between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. In an organisational context, managers do not demonstrate unwavering identification with the love of their work as creative individuals such as artists, poets and scientists, but are constantly working to resolve the complex issue of their intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in response to accomplishing tasks. Creativity is often associated with fun and pleasure. Reframing work-life as fun, creative and pleasurable creates positive effects in terms of job satisfaction and enables managers to pursue ideas they find interesting and passionate.28 However, along with the positive effects, managers see the attempts to make work-life pleasurable with suspicion and cynicism. By viewing the changes in terms of new forms of management control managers find it difficult to resolve the tension between pleasure and control. My study demonstrates the importance of political affinities and issues of legitimacy for new ideas, but importantly it reveals that in a creative organisation, managers find it difficult to engage with intra-organisational politics. Political affinities are associated with temporary individual groupings with the distinct possibility of betraying these grouping in the near future. The constant restructuring and flexible working makes it difficult for individuals to develop consistent political affinities. Political negotiation in a creative organisation becomes personalised and makes it difficult for managers to subscribe to one set of values and norms. The issue of morality is largely ignored in creativity research. Although there was a moral imperative to early research in creativity, subsequent studies have overlooked the role of morality.29 In particular, creativity research within organisational settings has not examined the connection between morality and creativity. My study reveals that personal morality rises to the forefront of managers' experience of creativity during times of transformation and change. Freedom associated with creativity makes managers acutely aware of their responsibilities. Whereas bureaucratic work may cause managers to bracket the moralities they hold outside the workplace and adhere to the prevailing organisational ethics, in a creative organisation personal morality becomes central to work.30 Managers face the difficult task of justifying the “rightness” of their actions to themselves and to their colleagues. My findings show that in a creative organisation, the role of organisational ethics diminishes and managers rely on their own values and beliefs in engaging with their task motivation, organisational politics and pleasure at work. Personal morality enables managers to make a judgment and decide on what to do. It acts as the overriding operating logic that managers rely on in times of uncertainty. This is not to say that personal morality provides answers, but to recognise that personal morality affords the courage to act.31 It is instructive to pause and reflect on the notion of “judgment” in order to understand the full implications of personal morality for creativity. Managerial judgment that I refer to here ranges from weak to strong. In a weak sense, judgment implies expressing an opinion authoritatively. A relatively stronger sense is to assess, whereby the reasons and values behind the opinion is also authoritatively affirmed. An even stronger sense refers to associating rights and wrongs to actions and subscribing to a moral plane for deciding. Finally, in its strongest sense, exercising judgment implies taking a firm stand on the rights and wrongs of a situation. Personal morality lies in the background of exercising judgment in all its senses, from opine, assess, take as true or false and take a stand.32 In other words, personal morality acts as the binding force that holds together the tensions between intrinsic-extrinsic motivation, pleasure-control and organisational politics by providing managers with an operating logic to decide on a course of action (see Figure 2).