Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

Organizational Creativity and the Top Management Team (TMT): An Interactionist Perspective

Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

Organizational Creativity and the Top Management Team (TMT): An Interactionist Perspective

Article excerpt


In the global economy there is increasing recognition that a creative workforce is a competitive advantage (Agars, Kaufman, Deane, & Smith, 2012). It is increasingly important for a business to create unique products, services and use innovative processes to gain competitive advantages (Gates, 2010; Ford, 1999). "Rising complexity leads CEOs from around the world to cite creativity as a way to capitalize on the future of business" (Nancherla, 2010, p. 26). Creativity is a driving and a constraining force facing businesses today given economic conditions. "Yet, past history also shows that the greatest innovation can come during periods of severe economic stress" (Jaruzelski & Holmes, 2009, p. 2). Executives must be able to develop creative approaches to meet the strategic and operational demands to ensure the viability of the firm. Organizations feel increasing pressure to be creative and innovative on an ongoing basis to gain a competitive advantage and ensure their long-term survival. According to Munroe (2011), "there is a wide agreement that innovation is the best way to sustain economic prosperity. innovation increases productivity, and productivity increases the possibility of higher income, higher profits, new jobs, new products, and a prosperous economy. Once you open the curtains to the world economy, you see the sunlight. It's not all cloudy. We need to transform smart ideas that tackle and address real problems into products and services that everybody wants." (para 23)

From a business perspective linking the two constructs of creativity and innovation together makes sense as "creativity for its own sake has minimal value (Agars et al., 2012).

It is a priority for an organization to encourage creativity and by extension innovation as keys to long-term success. Creativity or the ability to encourage and recognize creativity as a leadership quality is stressed across geographic locations and industries (Gumusluoglu and Ilsev, 2009). Leadership provides a solid foundation to influence creativity and innovative leaders behave differently (Dyer, Gregersen, & Christensen, 2009). However, predicting creativity at the organization level is a complex topic that psychologists and organizational scientists have studied for years. Researchers have approached the topic from multiple viewpoints i.e., differences in individual cognitive ability, personality, motivation and social perspectives (Guilford, 1967; McCrae, 1987; Amabile, 1983; Perry-Smith & Shalley, 2003). Amabile's (1988) componential theory looked at the influences on creativity--three within-individual components: domain-relevant skills, creativity-relevant processes (cognitive and personality processes conducive to novel thinking), and task motivation; one outside the individual component, the surrounding environment also called the social environment. Amabile (2012) specifies that creativity requires a confluence of all components. Creativity is highest when an intrinsically motivated person with high domain expertise and high skill in creative thinking works in an environment that supports creativity (Amabile, 2012). It remains a challenge to identify which definitions and which lessons are appropriate to apply from the general creativity literature to the business setting (Agars et al., 2012).


The purpose of the study is to examine the personalities and traits of the top management team (TMT), the context of the social environment, and explores how individual level personality traits impact and foster group and organization level creativity. This study was conducted in the natural organizational setting of one gaming company, a top performing multinational company producing game content, technology, customized programs, and managed casinos. Barron and Harrington (1981) noted the need for but recognized the difficulty of gathering "rich psychological data on creative individuals" (p. …

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