טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentCohen Oded
SubjectThe effect of autonomy to switch between the creative
task components of novelty and appropriateness on
creative performance
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisor Professor Emeritus Erez Miriam
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Abstract

The objective of this study is to identify the goal conditions that enable to reach the highest level of creative performance, which consists of both the novelty and the appropriateness of the creative performance outcome.  This study aims to answer this question by conducting an experiment under different goal conditions.  The experimental design consisted of two levels of goal difficulty reflecting tolerance for errors (high/low), which captures task appropriateness, accompanied by a general goal of generating novel solutions under three task conditions: a. simultaneously performing the generation of novel solutions and their appropriateness; b. sequentially focusing on the generation of novel solutions first and on error avoidance later; and c. under the discretion of switching back and forth between focusing on the idea generation task or on the error avoidance task. Furthermore, two types of creative tasks were tested - a verbal task of generating as many words as possible from a ten letter anagram, representing an open problem, and a numeric task, which required to generate as many different combinations of numbers that lead to a given outcome, representing a closed problem, with monetary rewards to novel and appropriate outcomes in both tasks (Unsworth, 2001). Furthermore, we assessed the level of exhaustion experienced by the participants under the different task conditions. Participants were 150 industrial engineering and management undergraduate students who were randomly allocated to the six conditions. 

The findings demonstrated that in the word generation task, a significantly higher level of novel solutions (fluency and originality) was found under the following conditions: high tolerance for errors and under the discretion of switching back and forth between focusing on the idea generation task or on the error avoidance task. In addition, a significantly higher level of appropriateness was found under the condition of low tolerance for errors, across all three task conditions. On the over hand, in the numeric task, a higher level of novel solutions (fluency and originality) was found under the condition of high tolerance for errors, across all task conditions. In addition we found that a significantly higher level of appropriateness was found under the conditions of sequentially focusing on the generation of novel solutions first and on error avoidance later, and under the discretion of switching back and forth between focusing on the idea generation task or on the error avoidance task, across the two tolerance for errors conditions.

In addition we found that the potential positive effect of giving the autonomy to switch  between the sub-tasks was counterbalanced by an increase in the level of exhaustion, related to the additional resources invested in task switching, and as a result, offset its potential advantage.

This study helps to understand the factors that lead to high levels of novelty while maintaining high appropriateness rates, in different creativity types.