It's time to sober up: The direct costs, side effects and long-term consequences of creativity and innovation

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

The literatures on creativity and innovation are each premised on the same important assumption that has gone largely unquestioned: Creativity and innovation are outcomes that are almost inherently positive. Decades of research on creativity in organizations have been motivated by the assumption that creative ideas can be implemented to realize innovations that will inevitably increase profit, strengthen competitive advantage and ensure firm survival. The assumption that creativity and innovation have positive downstream consequences has constrained existing research by forcing a myopic focus on creativity and innovation as dependent variables. Thus, in a significant departure from the existing literature, we turn the tables to conceptualize creativity and innovation as independent variables that can have a sweeping and frequently negative impact on a wide range of other important outcomes. We conclude by calling for a new stream of research to more soberly evaluate the direct costs, side effects and long-term consequences of creativity and innovation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-135
Number of pages29
JournalResearch in Organizational Behavior
Volume38
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

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Creativity
Costs and Cost Analysis
Research
Innovation
Costs
Side effects
Organizations

Keywords

  • Creativity consequences
  • Creativity costs
  • Creativity, innovation
  • Disinhibition
  • Innovation consequences
  • Innovation costs
  • Invention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

Cite this

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abstract = "The literatures on creativity and innovation are each premised on the same important assumption that has gone largely unquestioned: Creativity and innovation are outcomes that are almost inherently positive. Decades of research on creativity in organizations have been motivated by the assumption that creative ideas can be implemented to realize innovations that will inevitably increase profit, strengthen competitive advantage and ensure firm survival. The assumption that creativity and innovation have positive downstream consequences has constrained existing research by forcing a myopic focus on creativity and innovation as dependent variables. Thus, in a significant departure from the existing literature, we turn the tables to conceptualize creativity and innovation as independent variables that can have a sweeping and frequently negative impact on a wide range of other important outcomes. We conclude by calling for a new stream of research to more soberly evaluate the direct costs, side effects and long-term consequences of creativity and innovation.",
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AB - The literatures on creativity and innovation are each premised on the same important assumption that has gone largely unquestioned: Creativity and innovation are outcomes that are almost inherently positive. Decades of research on creativity in organizations have been motivated by the assumption that creative ideas can be implemented to realize innovations that will inevitably increase profit, strengthen competitive advantage and ensure firm survival. The assumption that creativity and innovation have positive downstream consequences has constrained existing research by forcing a myopic focus on creativity and innovation as dependent variables. Thus, in a significant departure from the existing literature, we turn the tables to conceptualize creativity and innovation as independent variables that can have a sweeping and frequently negative impact on a wide range of other important outcomes. We conclude by calling for a new stream of research to more soberly evaluate the direct costs, side effects and long-term consequences of creativity and innovation.

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