Knowledge Is Power? an Inquiry into Knowledge Management, Its Effects on Individual Creativity, and the Moderating Role of an Entrepreneurial Mindset

By Phipps, Simone T. A.; Prieto, Leon C. | Academy of Strategic Management Journal, January 2012 | Go to article overview

Knowledge Is Power? an Inquiry into Knowledge Management, Its Effects on Individual Creativity, and the Moderating Role of an Entrepreneurial Mindset


Phipps, Simone T. A., Prieto, Leon C., Academy of Strategic Management Journal


INTRODUCTION

Organizational performance is critical for the survival of a company. Successful business operation allows firms to compete and stay afloat, while closure looms for those that fail. Many factors influence the effectiveness and performance of both employees and the organization that they serve. Some of these factors include transformational leadership (Bass & Riggio, 2006; Whittington & Goodwin, 2001; Boerner, Eisenbeiss, & Griesser, 2007; Garcia-Morales, Matias-Reche, & Hurtado-Torres, 2008), organizational citizenship behavior (Organ, 1988; Podsakoff & MacKenzie, 1997; Min-Huei, 2004), organizational learning (Arthur & Huntley, 2005; Chich-Jen, Wang, & Fu-Jin, 2009; Chaveerug & Ussahawanitchakit, 2008), and entrepreneurship (Zahra & Covin, 1995; Dyduch, 2008; Covin & Miles, 1999). Ultimately, these dynamics center around, not only the structure and culture of the organization, but also the abilities of the human resources employed within the organization. One such ability is individual creativity. According to Oldham and Cummings (1996), creativity involves the generation of ideas, procedures, or products that are novel or original, and that are potentially relevant for, or useful to, an organization. The authors further clarify novelty as entailing a significant recombination of existing materials or an introduction of completely new materials. Amabile (1983) refers to creativity as a response that is novel, appropriate, and useful to the task at hand.

Creative individuals are an asset to any organization as creativity positively affects organizational performance. Employees' creativity often provides a starting point for successful organizational innovation (Zhou, 2003; Bassett-Jones, 2005), and many researchers agree that creativity is fundamental to ensure an organization's competitiveness and survival (Gilson, 2008; Cox & Blake, 1991). Fentem, Dumas and McDonnell (1998) concede that although the phenomenon of creativity has long been of great interest to the philosophy, psychology, and design research communities, more recently, the business community has become interested due to global competition, our "accelerated culture," and the evermore rapidly changing business environment, which force organizations to constantly innovate their processes, products and services. For today's knowledge and innovation-based economies, as well as entrepreneurship, creativity will define what could be the essence of a business's raison d'etre (De Miranda, Aranha, & Zardo, 2009).

Therefore, it is important to determine the factors that promote or release creativity in individuals, and to find ways to foster their creative vision, so that the organizations for which they work can reap the benefits of their originality and resourcefulness. There are numerous factors that encourage creativity including diversity (Bassett-Jones, 2005), personality, cognitive style, job complexity, relationship with supervisors and coworkers, rewards, evaluation, deadlines and goals, and spatial configuration of work settings (Shalley, Zhou, & Oldham, 2004). Knowledge and learning have also been associated with creativity. Weisberg (1999) mentioned that it is universally acknowledged that one must have knowledge of a field if one hopes to produce something novel within it, because knowledge provides the basic elements or building blocks out of which new ideas are constructed.

However, knowledge must be effectively managed to maximize its creative productivity. Wei and Xie (2008) defined knowledge management as a systematic and organized approach to improve the organization's ability to mobilize knowledge to enhance decision-making, take actions, and deliver results in support of the underlying business strategy. Therefore, KM is a process that aids in the procurement and dissemination of knowledge within an organization. Since creativity builds on knowledge, and KM facilitates the generation, organization, and diffusion of knowledge, KM should positively affect creativity as it ensures the availability of knowledge to employees, who can then assimilate the knowledge as they produce creative solutions. …

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