טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentPeer Dean
SubjectCulture-Dependent Meaning of Creativity and its Impact
on Creative Outcomes
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisor Professor Emeritus Miriam Erez
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Abstract

Creativity has long been proclaimed as the flagship of the Western world, whereas East-Asian countries were pronounced as having a “creativity problem”. Numerous explanations were suggested to account for these differences, but yielded inconclusive results. The current research proposes that creativity may have different meanings in different cultures, which may influence a person’s priority towards the quantity (number of ideas), quality (originality of ideas) or appropriateness of generated creative ideas. Individualistic cultures (e.g., North America), idolize breakthrough creativity and pursue pioneering ideas, whereas collectivistic cultures (e.g., East Asia) build upon existing traditions and enhance social ties, thus the reinterpretation and appropriateness of ideas are important elements of creativity that influence creative performance.

The current study examined the effect of individualism-collectivism on latent meanings of creativity and the latter’s effect on individual creative performance, using a sample of 166 MBA students from the US and Hong Kong. The effect of individualism-collectivism on creativity varies depending on the individual’s self-representation. The study was conducted in a global context of multi-cultural teams and hence the effect of a global self-representation on the proposed mediation was examined.

Results confirmed that individualism-collectivism indirectly effect the different aspects of creative performance through the different meanings of creativity. Specifically, breakthrough, an individualistic meaning of creativity was related to the quantity of ideas, whereas reinterpretation and usefulness, collectivistic meanings of creativity were associated with ideas of higher quality and appropriateness, respectively. Hence, this study extends previous research by identifying the meaning of creativity as an important explanatory mediator of the relationship between collectivism-individualism and creative performance outcomes.