“While innovation exists on an organizational level, the level of creativity is individual”, noted Oldham and Cummings in 1996.
Although there has traditionally been a focus on individuals within creativity, the term is to a growing extent placed within a collective setting (Nijstad and Paulus 2003; Kurtzberg and Amabile 2016).
Nevertheless, King asserted that while innovation is essentially public, creativity is not necessarily so (1995). Therefore, creativity is viewed as a cognitive concept, as opposed to innovation regarded a social one.
In the first theory recognizing (and combining) the mutual influence of creativity and organizational innovation, creativity is defined as “the production of novel and useful ideas by an individual or small group of individuals working together” (Amabile 1988). It does appear as limiting, to define creativity to maximally exist of a small group. Does that imply that creativity can be quantified? And why aren’t larger groups included in an age of increasing focus on external input and wide collaboration, especially when Amabile’s amended and updated theory is dated to 2016?
One can wonder where the line goes for a group being “too big” for creativity, as well as why such an encompassing term is defined within such narrow frames by the scholars who know them best.
In any case, the above definition of creativity is based on social and environmental factors playing an important role in the creative performance itself.
Amabile, T. M. (1988). A model of creativity and innovation in organizations. In B. S. Cummings (Ed.), Research in Organizational Behavior, p. 123–167, Greenwich: JAI Press.
Amabile, T. and Pratt, M. G. (2016). The Dynamic Componential Model of Creativity and Innovation in Organizations: Making Progress, Making Meaning. Research in Organizational Behavior, 36 (1), p. 157-183.
King, N. (1995). Individual Creativity and Organizational Innovation: An Uncertain Link. In C.M. Ford and D.A. Gioia (Eds.) Creative Action in Organizations: Ivory Tower Visions and Real World Voices, p. 82-87. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Kurtzberg, T.R., and Amabile, T.M. (2001), From Guilford to creative synergy: opening the black box of team-level creativity. Creativity Research Journal, 13 (3-4), p. 285-294.
Nijstad, B. A., and Paulus, P. B. (2003). Group Creativity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Oldham, G.R, and Cummings, A. (1996). Employee creativity: personal and contextual factors at work. Academy of Management Journal, 39 (3), p. 607–634.