Creativity and Empowerment: A Complementary Relationship

By Velthouse, Betty A. | Review of Business, Fall 1990 | Go to article overview

Creativity and Empowerment: A Complementary Relationship


Velthouse, Betty A., Review of Business


Creativity and Empowerment: A Complementary Relationship

Introduction

Contemporary organizational behaviorists are calling for an Organizational Renaissance [10]. Citing increased international competition and diminished national productivity, a variety of authors have described the needs of American industry in order to continue as an industrial leader. Interestingly, this recent catalog of organizational needs does not focus on technology, strategy, culture, or even leadership, but on individual contributions.

Although neither term has a unified definition, creativity and empowerment are similar and each describes the above contributions. Behaviorists are demanding that employees be empowered, that they be free to exercise choice. It is believed that this freedom of choice will facilitate expressions of commitment [22], courage [8], involvement [6], risk taking [10], and imagination [15]. On a more personal, individual level, these qualities are remarkably similar to the description of creative people. Creative persons are curious, self-confident, optimistic, flexible, visionary, and have a sense of humor [20]:

Creativity and Empowerment

Similarities

Both creativity and empowerment have multiple definitions. Creativity is defined by both its manifestation and the impetus which energizes originality. Consequently, it is often defined in terms of its essence. Empowerment has such variation in its definitions that it is simply referred to as a heuristic. For this article, creativity will be defined as the act of bringing into existence something which did not exist before, and empowerment will be defined as an individual's belief in his/her ability to exercise choice.

Both creativity and empowerment have fanciful definitions; to some degree, they are the property of the philosopher and the idealist. Creativity, for example, is defined as the spark of the soul, joie de vivre, and one's claim to immortality. Empowerment, too, has idealistic advocates; it describes the maturation of the followers of Martin Luther King [12], the evolution of grassroots political action groups [14], and a philosophy of marginality in the women's movement [13]. For the individual, creativity is an expression of the soul; for the group, empowerment suggests dream fulfillment and the betterment of mankind.

However, they are also described very practically and have realistic applications. Creativity, for example, is a habit of work, persistence to achieve, and the mastery of a particular discipline. Practical empowerment has been associated with organizational structure [10], and systems [4], as well as managerial techniques [18].

The behavioral outcomes of these two phenomena are also similar. Creativity is manifested through innovation, entrepreneurship, inventive decision making, and original thinking [3,20]. Characteristics of empowerment are described as independence, awareness, risk taking, confidence, responsibility, and investment [12,18].

Creativity and empowerment are believed to result from comparable organizational factors. For example, creativity is enhanced by freedom of information and relaxation of conditioned thinking [17]; empowerment results from open communication and network building [10]. Access to decision making and control of resources are empowering [16]; providing resources and support and encouraging the solution of unstructured problems enhance creativity [20]. Low levels of supervision, participation in goal setting, and the establishment of challenging work goals foster creativity, while participation, expanded awareness, and being attuned to organizational goals empower individuals [20,7].

Finally, neither creativity nor empowerment is universally achievable. For example, personality factors are believed to exist which limit the individual's ability to accept self-control [1,5]. In a corollary fashion, many people believe that creative people innately march to the beat of a different drummer; therefore, creativity cannot be taught - you are either born creative or you are not [21].

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Creativity and Empowerment: A Complementary Relationship
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.