Academic journal article South Asian Journal of Management

Team Creativity at Work: A Conceptual Framework

Academic journal article South Asian Journal of Management

Team Creativity at Work: A Conceptual Framework

Article excerpt

In prior research, the issue of team creativity could not be adequately examined and whatever little has been done is scattered. Therefore, this paper aims at reviewing and integrating the results of the earlier research studies on 'team creativity' carried out so far. Based on the outcomes of comprehensive review and consequently emerged propositions 'a theoretical framework of team creativity' is presented. In such a framework, it is suggested that the seven key factors, viz., creativity of individual team members, team composition and team diversity, team cohesion, team structure, team reflexivity, perspective taking, and empowering and transformational leadership influence team creativity. The review revealed a number of propositions which may be taken up to test in future research in the field of creativity in team context. In this paper, a few significant issues which remained unresolved in prior research have also been identified and put forth for future research.

Key Words: Creativity, Empowering leadership, Perspective taking, Team cohesion, Team creativity, Team diversity, Team reflexivity, Team structure, Transformational leadership

INTRODUCTION

In organizational settings, most of the creative activities are typically executed in some form of teams, mostly in a project-team or in cross-functional teams and almost all the organizations execute R&D and innovation activities successfully through teamwork (Griffin, 1997). Effective implementation of innovative ideas requires effective interactions and sharing of thoughts among team members. Thus, they emphasized the significance of team work and team creativity. A raft of extant research studies demonstrates that creativity is vital for individuals, teams in organizations and also for the organization as a whole. To deal with the complexity of new technologies and knowledge explosion, today's organizations increasingly rely on team creativity. In present era of global competitiveness, ongoing growth and increasing productive performance is dependent on team work and mutually interdependent team members. Team creativity enables teams to leverage competitive advantage mainly through team members' diversity, team reflexivity, perspective taking, and transformational leadership. And therefore, in current business scenario, management needs to give top priority to foster team creativity.

So far as conceptual frameworks or theories of creativity are concerned, the three theoretical frameworks developed by Amabile (1988), Woodman et al. (1993) and Ford (1996) have been frequently cited in earlier research. In her componential model of creativity and innovation, Amabile (1988) described the five stages of individual creativity in social setting as well as the factors that influence such creativity. Woodman et al. (1993) developed an interactional framework for organizational creativity. Such a framework "brings the perspectives of interactional psychology to bear on the integration of process, production, person and situation into a more comprehensive theory of organizational creativity" (p. 294). The premise of such a framework is that "group creativity is a function of individual creativity and organizational creativity is a function of the creative outputs of its component groups and contextual influences" (p. 296). Ford's (1996) theory of creative individual action "integrates psychological and sociological descriptions of creativity and conformity to present a theory of individual creative action within organizational settin gs composed of intertwin ed group, organizational, institu tional and market domains " (p. 112). Other theoretical approaches /models /conceptualizations concernin g creativ it y available in extant literature have some or the other limitations and the other approach could overcome the limitation of the ear lier one to some extent. Vario us approaches appear as supplementary and complimentary to provide better understanding of the creativity. …

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