The Role of Creative Mediums in Enhancing Management Research Representation

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Lakshmi Balachandran Nair of Utrecht University, Pauline Fatien Diochon of Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Reka Anna Lassu of the University of Central Florida, and Suzanne G. Tilleman of the University of Montana, Missoula. They recently published an article in the Journal of Management Inquiry entitled “Let’s Perform and Paint! The Role of Creative Mediums in Enhancing Management Research Representation,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below,  They reflect on their research:]

JMI_72ppiRGB_powerpointA video of an indigenous tribe member with colorful body paint and a heavy beaded necklace filming his peers with a camera in the middle of the Amazon rainforest…

An analogy of a cocktail party used to represent the complex Higgs boson phenomenon in the simplest way possible…

What do these have in common?

They are creative mediums used by scholars to display research findings in an evocative, yet informative way. Expanding on examples such as these, our article advocates for the use of creative mediums to showcase the product of an inquiry, either alone or as a supplement to traditional reporting. We provide a rationale for how these mediums trigger interest, foster a multisensory experience, convey complex meaning, and spark contemporary, inclusive dialogues.

How did we have this idea?

“Here are markers and a poster. Show us a new research idea you think will generate curiosity, conversation, and collaboration and is emblematic of The Journal of Management Inquiry’s spirit”

This was the prompt we were given by Dr. Hannah and Dr. Stackman at the concluding workshop session of the 2016 Western Academy of Management Conference after they had introduced an example of recent research about how the presence of animals influences people at work. The few of us at our table began brainstorming.

“Did you know that some PhD students dance their dissertation?” said Dr. Balachandran Nair.

This question started a discussion about how management researchers are familiar with the use of creative mediums to illustrate intricate and dynamic organizational environments. However, the majority of the researchers tend to restrict the use of creative mediums to facilitating the process of inquiry. What if these creative mediums could showcase the findings?

We quickly sketched our idea on a poster (see left).
All the participants showed each other their posters and voted on their favorites.

JMI Initial PosterThe initial poster presenting our ideas

The enthusiasm from the workshop motivated us to examine the creative practices in other fields and to see whether and how we can adapt ideas for reporting research findings to the management field. Voilà, the project was born. The article inspired by the workshop is innovative in its idea and format. While using creative mediums for research representation certainly contrasts with dominant text-based vehicles, we believe in the potential of creative mediums to increase engagement, retention, and impact – not only with fellow researchers but also with practitioners and the general public. We see creative mediums as a way to build bridges with several communities around researchers. None of us are professional artists, but we had to practice what we preach, so we challenged ourselves to include a poem, cartoon, and a collage along with our article.

Now, it is your turn to get creative!

Lakshmi Balachandran Nair, Pauline Fatien Diochon, Reka Anna Lassu, Suzanne Tilleman

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Wide Research, Narrow Effects: Why Interdisciplinary Research – and Innovation – is Hard

[This blog post was originally featured on Organizational Musings, written by Administrative Science Quarterly‘s Editor, Henrich R. Greve. Click here to view the original post.]

Interdisciplinary research is seen as very valuable for society and economy. Some of that could be hype, but there are some good examples of what it can do. You have probably noticed that oil is no longer 100 dollar per barrel, and the US is no longer a big importer. This is a result of fracking, a result of interdisciplinary research. And if you don’t like fracking, a good alternative is photovoltaic energy, which comes from the sun, and from interdisciplinary research.

So some interdisciplinary research has been good for society. Is it also good for the scientists who are supposed to do it? The answer to this question is very interesting, and is reported in an article in Administrative Science Quarterly by Erin Leahey, Christine Beckman, and Taryn Stanko. The start is easy to explain: interdisciplinary research is less productive, but it gets more attention. The answer got more complicated, and more interesting, when they started looking at why that happened.

Current Issue CoverThe first step was to look at whether interdisciplinary research is more difficult to do, or whether it is because it is harder for it to gain acceptance and get published. The answer is clear: it is not harder to gain acceptance, but it is harder to do, especially early on. The second step was to look at why this research got more attention. Here many factors played a role, but one stood out to me: Actually what increases especially much is the variation in how much attention interdisciplinary research gets, and that helps explain the increased average. So interdisciplinary research is related to fracking in one more way – few reap the awards from it.

This paper doesn’t really result in career advice for scientists, because everyone will be interested in different kinds of research, and have different ideas on how much risk to take on. But has important insights on how innovations are made. Building on closely related ideas is much easier to do, so no wonder much of what scientists – and companies – do is incremental. And this is true even though we often tell stories of the great successes of interdisciplinary research and integrative innovations, while forgetting all those who tried and didn’t succeed. Whether that means we cross-fertilize knowledge too little, too much, or just enough is hard to tell.

You can read the article, “Prominent but Less Productive: The Impact of Interdisciplinarity on Scientists’ Research” from Administrative Science Quarterly free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to stay up to date on all of the latest research from Administrative Science QuarterlyClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

Book Review: The Oxford Handbook of Creative Industries

Cover for 

The Oxford Handbook of Creative Industries

Candace Jones, Mark Lorenzen, Jonathan Sapsed , eds.: The Oxford Handbook of Creative Industries. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015. 576 pp. $170.00, hardcover.

Santi Furnari of City University London recently published a book review for The Oxford Handbook of Creative Industries in Administrative Science Quarterly. An excerpt from the review:

The Oxford Handbook of Creative Industries is a comprehensive compendium of up-to-date scholarly works on the formation, dynamics, and outcomes of creative industries. Two distinctive strengths of this handbook are the breadth of topics covered and the diversity of disciplinary perspectives brought to bear to examine such topics. The volume puts together a unique collection of leading scholars from different disciplines (management, sociology, economics, law, psychology, urban planning, and public policy) covering the complete range of theoretical and practical issues that characterize the study of creative industries today…

These diverse contributions are elegantly framed by Current Issue Coverthe editors’ introduction to the volume, which not only works well in setting the stage for the other chapters but also provides a useful theoretical framework to organize the arguments and evidence presented in them. This framework identifies two conceptual dimensions of a creative product: semiotic codes (i.e., the relations among the symbolic elements embedded in a creative product) and the material base (i.e., the technologies and materials giving form to a creative product). Each of these dimensions may undergo change, either slow or fast, depending on four change drivers: demand, technology, policy, and globalization. The result of this conceptualization is a two-by-two typology classifying four types of change in the creative industries depending on the pace (fast vs. slow) and locus (semiotic codes vs. material bases) of change.

You can read the full book review from Administrative Science Quarterly free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research from Administrative Science Quarterly? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Job Satisfaction and Work Climate: New Collections from GOM!

GOM_Feb_2016.inddGroup & Organization has added two new article collections to the Editor’s Choice Collections. The new Job Satisfaction collection offers a selection of interesting articles that explore topics like career plateauing, internal job transitions, and the effect of leader humor on job satisfaction.

The new Work Climate collection delves into workplace research, including papers on workplace boredom, personality as a predictor of climate, and the impact of bad behavior in groups. In the article “The Psychological Benefits of Creating an Affirming Climate for Workplace Diversity,” authors Donna Chrobot-Mason and Nicholas P. Aramovich try to identify how workplace diversity can lead to positive outcomes. The abstract from their paper:

Workforce diversity has been described as a double-edged sword; it has the potential for positive and negative outcomes. To better understand why and how diversity leads to positive outcomes, we examined the relationship between employee perceptions of diversity climate perceptions and intent to turnover. We explored the role of four psychological outcome variables (organizational commitment, climate for innovation, psychological empowerment, and identity freedom) as possible mediators of this relationship. Racial and gender subgroup differences were also examined. Survey data were collected from 1,731 public employees. Findings suggest that when employees perceive equal access to opportunities and fair treatment, intent to turn over decreases. Furthermore, these relationships are significantly mediated by psychological outcomes. Implications for diversity management and training are discussed.

6983317491_e8d8440af8_zIn addition, new articles have been added to Group & Organization Management‘s other collections, including the Editor’s Choice collection on Creativity & Innovation. New articles to this collection explore the impact of job complexity, team culture, and interaction on the creative process. In the article “Defining Creative Ideas: Toward a More Nuanced Approach,” authors Robert C. Litchfield, Lucy L. Gilson, and Paul W. Gilson distinguish types of creative ideas to better understand the creative process. The abstract from their paper:

Organizational creativity research has focused extensively on distinguishing creativity from routine, non-creative work. In this conceptual article, we examine the less considered issue of variation in the type of creative ideas. Starting from the premise that creativity occurs along a continuum that can range from incremental to radical, we propose that unpacking variation in the mix of novelty and two common conceptions of usefulness—feasibility and value—results in seven meaningfully different types of creativity. We group these types of creativity into four creative continua scaled according to novelty to provide an organizing framework for future research.

To celebrate Group & Organization Managements new collections and articles, we have opened all of the articles in the Job Satisfaction, Work Climate, and Creativity & Innovation collections for the next 60 days. Interested in Group & Organization‘s other Editor’s Choice collections? Click here.  Want to know all about the latest research from Group & Organization? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Family image credited to dbking (CC)

Pushing the Boundaries: Studying the Boundaryless Creative Careers of Film Directors

Oscars Awards

Creative careers can differ quite a bit from the average 9-to-5 desk job, but only some go so far as to defy boundaries in the way that boundaryless careers do. Individuals in boundaryless careers enjoy organizational mobility, geographical mobility, occupational mobility, the ability to work outside of organizational boundaries based on preference, and the ability to reject career opportunities for personal reasons. But how do these factors impact the path of a boundaryless career? In their article, “Surviving a Boundaryless Creative Career: The Case of Oscar-Nominated Film Directors, 1967-2014,” published in Journal of Management Inquiry, authors Charalampos Mainemelis of The American College of Greece, Sevasti-Melissa Nolas of University of Sussex, and Stavroula Tsirogianni of Canterbury Christ Church University studied the success and failures of Oscar-nominated film directors over their careers to determine how a boundaryless career might look in comparison with traditional office jobs.

The abstract from their paper:

Previous research has examined how mobility and career competencies influence JMI_72ppiRGB_powerpointsuccess in boundaryless careers. In this study, we flip the direction of those relationships and we explore how the interplay between success and failure relates to subsequent mobility, career competencies, and career evolution through the life span. Using a biographical design, we conceptualize success and failure as critical moments that influence the unfolding of the boundaryless careers of Oscar-nominated film directors. While the dominant metaphors of boundaryless careers are those of “paths,” “ladders,” “trajectories,” and “plateaus,” our findings suggest a new metaphor: the roller coaster.

You can read  “Surviving a Boundaryless Creative Career: The Case of Oscar-Nominated Film Directors, 1967-2014” from Journal of Management Inquiry by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Journal of Management Inquiry? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Oscars award picture credited to Global Panorama (CC)

Lise van Oortmerssen on Creative Processes and Their Valuable Surprises

business-graphics-1428648-m[We’re pleased to welcome Lise van Oortmerssen of the University of Amsterdam. Dr. van Oortmerssen recently collaborated with Cees M. J. van Woerkum of Wageningen University and Noelle Aarts of both Wageningen University and the University of Amsterdam on their paper “When Interaction Flows: An Exploration of Collective Creative Processes on a Collaborative Governance Board,” recently published in the OnlineFirst section of Group and Organization Management.]

When I started the case study that resulted in this article, it was not creative processes that I was focused on. I had access to the board meetings of an innovative collaboration at the intersection of the ICT and creative industries, involving parties from both the private and (semi-)public sectors. The original research focus was on interaction patterns during board meetings and on trust developments among the board members. However, after I had followed the board meetings for a while, I became intrigued by the way that this group of successful, highly skilled people conducted its deliberations and how the board’s interaction patterns were connected to problem solving developments. I felt that I – ánd the readers of a future paper on this case study – could learn a lot from these innovators who were, almost passionately, dedicated to a common goal.

During meetings, the board’s conversation regularly intensified GOM 39(6)_Covers.inddand sometimes even seemed to get into a flow. Such flow episodes generated new insights and often resulted in novel solutions. This dynamic became my new focus of attention. Following this new direction, the case study resulted in completely different output than I had in mind at the start. It resulted in exploring collective creative processes through communication patterns and in launching the concept of interaction flow. The research process was a creative process in itself. This is what makes me a fan of the interpretive research approach – the approach that allows keeping the eyes open to interesting surprises that emerge from the data and following these into novel research directions. It unlocks the potential for finding even more remarkable insights than you were originally looking for. And that actually happened in this case.

You can read “When Interaction Flows: An Exploration of Collective Creative Processes on a Collaborative Governance Board” from Group and Organization Management free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research like this from Group and Organization Management? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

LiseLise A. van Oortmerssen (PhD) lectures in Corporate Communication at the University of Amsterdam. Her main research interest is in group communication dynamics in organizational contexts, for example focusing on communication patterns in relation to trust and to creativity. She accumulated varied experience as senior advisor in public organizations.

CeesCees M.J. van Woerkum is Emeritus Professor of Strategic Communication at Wageningen University. He published in the fields of mass communication, policy science and organizational communication, mainly about topics related to the domain of life sciences.

noelleNoelle Aarts is Professor of Strategic Communication at the University of Amsterdam and Associate Professor of Communication Strategies at Wageningen University. She studies inter-human processes and communication for creating space for change, in governmental organizations, NGO’s, and commercial companies. She has published on topics such as communication of organizations with their environment, conflict and negotiation, dealing with ambivalence, network-building and self-organization.

The March Issue of Administrative Science Quarterly is Now Online!

The March issue of Administrative Science Quarterly is now available and can be read online for free for the next 30 days. This issue offers a range of compelling articles on organizational studies as well as astute book reviews.

The lead article, “Creativity from Constraint? How the Political Correctness Norm Influences Creativity in Mixed-sex Work Groups” was authored by Jack A. Goncalo, Jennifer A. Chatman, Michelle M. Duguid and Jessica A. Kennedy. You can read the abstract below:

As work organizations become increasingly gender diverse, existing theoretical models have failed to explain why such diversity can have a ASQ_v60n1_Mar2015_cover.inddnegative impact on idea generation. Using evidence from two group experiments, this paper tests theory on the effects of imposing a political correctness (PC) norm, one that sets clear expectations for how men and women should interact, on reducing interaction uncertainty and boosting creativity in mixed-sex groups. Our research shows that men and women both experience uncertainty when asked to generate ideas as members of a mixed-sex work group: men because they may fear offending the women in the group and women because they may fear having their ideas devalued or rejected. Most group creativity research begins with the assumption that creativity is unleashed by removing normative constraints, but our results show that the PC norm promotes rather than suppresses the free expression of ideas by reducing the uncertainty experienced by both sexes in mixed-sex work groups and signaling that the group is predictable enough to risk sharing more—and more-novel—ideas. Our results demonstrate that the PC norm, which is often maligned as a threat to free speech, may play an important role in promoting gender parity at work by allowing demographically heterogeneous work groups to more freely exchange creative ideas.

You can access the Table of Contents for this issue of Administrative Science Quarterly by clicking here. You can keep up-to-date on all the latest news and research from Administrative Science Quarterly by clicking here to sign up for e-alerts!