Professor Jill Perry-Smith, Emory University

Considering creativity as a journey beyond idea generation, scholars have recently theorised that weak ties and strong ties are beneficial in different phases. As individuals usually possess both types of ties, selecting the optimal ties in each phase and changing ties as needed are central activities for creative success. In this paper, we propose that the ties individuals call to mind (for example, activated ties) are shaped by assumptions that creativity, and idea elaboration in particular, is a risky endeavour, and by the set of available ties they can choose from (for example, network size). Across three experimental studies, we first confirm the “optimal” type of ties for each phase, showing that individuals benefit more from weak ties during idea generation. Moreover, we find that individuals involved in creative activities activate stronger portions of their networks and are less likely to activate weak ties across phases, particularly in idea elaboration where they activate their strongest, inner circle ties. Finally, we find that having more available ties reduces the likelihood of switching ties across phases, potentially explaining why creative ideas get “stuck” in one phase, particularly when creativity is framed as a risky endeavour.

Speaker bio

Jill Perry-Smith is the Goizueta Foundation Term Chair and Professor of Organization and Management at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. She received her PhD in Organisational Behaviour from Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on creativity as a social process and social networks. In addition, her research explores the interface between the work and non-work domains and the effect on individuals and organisations. Her research has appeared in leading scholarly journals such as Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and Organization Science. She currently serves as associate editor of Academy of Management Journal.

Address

Trumpington St
Cambridge
CambridgeshireCB2 1AG
United Kingdom

Date & time

Date: 16 September 2019
Start Time: 12:30
End Time: 14:00

Audience

Open to: Members of the University of Cambridge

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Event location


Trumpington St
Cambridge
CambridgeshireCB2 1AG
United Kingdom

Event timings

Date: 16 September 2019
Start Time: 12:30
End Time: 14:00