Stimulating Creativity : A study about how leadership can stimulate a creative organizational climate
Sammanfattning: Creativity is a major source of competitive advantage and a crucial key for organizational success and survival. The ability to achieve competitive advantage largely depends on the way the organization exploits and uses its available resources. Among many resources within an organization, employees’ unique skills and creative abilities are key resources. The term 'creativity' is not easily defined, which is evident by the various different definitions of the term, and also varies depending on the subject area. This is also one of the reasons why leaders avoid bringing forth creativity, because of its ambiguous character, it is considered to be too elusive and intangible to pin down, in other words unmanageable. Consequently, this causes uncertainty among leaders which makes them repellent to stimulating creativity. However, this does not exclude the fact that the importance of leadership not has been given sufficient attention. Several researches indicate that leadership actually plays a key role in stimulating creativity by its impact on organization climate. Therefore, the question raised in this study is how leadership can stimulate a creative organizational climate for employees. In this study a literature review has been made where relevant theory has been included in the theoretical chapter. The theory is based primarily on Amabile's ‘The KEYS model’ combined with Ekvall's ‘Ten dimensions’. The two theories are analyzed together and supplemented with other theories where factors are either retained or omitted. Each respective theoretical position makes an important contribution to the understanding of creativity stimulation, from which a conceptual model has been designed. The methodological approach used within this study has been abduction. With a focus on qualitative research as an approach, an operationalization was created and also used during the semi-structured interviews. For this study three different company leaders (two HR-leaders and one innovation leader) have been interviewed. The factors that indicate a positive impact on creativity are idea support, risk-taking, playfulness and humor, feedback, rewards and emotional safety. This has been confirmed by the arguments stated in the theory as well as empirical findings. Other factors such as independence, sufficient time, necessary resources, amount of challenges and strictness show a pending impact, meaning that the factor requires a balance in order to avoid inhibiting creativity. Amount of challenges and strictness were originally assigned positive and negative impact, but as now have been assigned pending impact depending on how the theory compared to the empirical findings has been addressed to them. Finally, the negative related factor, conflicts, has been omitted as the factor did not turn out to contribute to a creative climate. Based on this analysis, a model has been created with the intention to fulfil the purpose of this study as it shows how leaders can stimulate creativity by reproducing the factors contributing to creativity.
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