Structure and freedom in creativity: The interplay between externally imposed structure and personal cognitive style

Lilach Sagiv*, Sharon Arieli, Jacob Goldenberg, Ayalla Goldschmidt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations

Abstract

This research investigates how creativity is influenced by externally imposed structure (how structured the task is), internal, cognitively produced, structure (how structured the individuals' cognitive style is), and the interaction between these two factors. Reviewing past literature, we find a contradiction. Studies that focused on the situational perspective found that externally imposed structure increases creativity. In contrast, studies that focused on the individual found that systematic (structured) cognitive style decreases creativity. In two empirical studies we investigated this seeming contradiction. We focused on two aspects of externally imposed structure: The construction of the task (Study 1) and the instructions provided (Study 2). The findings of both studies revealed that creativity was higher under structured conditions. We also show that intuitive individuals are more creative than systematic individuals, but mainly under free conditions, where structure is not externally imposed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1086-1110
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Volume31
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2010

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