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Getting creative


Themes: Organisational behaviour

Dr Andreas Richter says the connection between creative self-efficacy and individual creativity is more positive than originally thought.

Fresh research into creative self-efficacy and creativity in teams has thrown new light onto an area overlooked in previous studies. Prior research noted significant but not consistently strong relationships between creative self-efficacy and individual creativity but the latest findings indicate the link is very positive.

Dr Andreas Richter of Cambridge Judge Business School says the connection between creative self-efficacy and individual creativity is more positive than originally thought. Greater shared knowledge of ‘who knows what’ and functional background diversity together determine the influence that creative self-efficacy has on individual creativity.

The study was prompted by a need to examine creativity in the pharmaceutical industry where, says Dr Richter, among R&D teams creativity means money. He and his colleagues set out to investigate what predicts creativity among R&D scientists.

“Creativity benefits those scientists in the research and development teams most if the team develops a shared knowledge about ‘who knows what’, which is a shared understanding of where expertise in the team is located, while at the same time people are highly self-efficacious with respect to creativity and they actively seek out and try to acquire this information resource which is available in these highly diverse teams.”

Dr Richter adds that it is a common belief that individual scientists’ creativity benefits from highly diverse teams, but the empirical evidence is less encouraging when focused on individual creativity.

“It is not only the diversity that predicts individual creativity; it is not only picking people with the right characteristics, like those who have high creative self-efficacy. It’s an interplay between the two plus the development of a shared understanding of where the expertise is located with the team.”