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October 06, 2018 Saturday 12:21:24 PM IST

Feedback and creativity

Leadership Instincts

It is widely believed that obtaining external feedback about one's ideas is essential for increasing creativity. Entrepreneurs want to engage customers in order to ascertain whether their business model is viable; so do the academics, who attend conferences to obtain feedback on their research results. A new joint research study led by organizational psychologist Roy Sijbom concludes that a positive effect depends also on the work environment. The results to this effect are published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior.

Seeking feedback often leads to a greater diversity of viewpoints and thus enhances creativity. And the more diverse the viewpoints, the more it benefits one's creativity. This is because by combining and integrating all the different viewpoints new perspectives may emerge, which in turn, will result in more creativity. However, can we expect this effect always and for sure?

On examining different work environments, such as performance dynamism and experienced creative time pressure, the researchers conclude that it is not correct, ipso facto.

'We discovered an exponential relationship between the search for input from a variety of feedback sources and creativity, but only when performance standards within an organization are changing and when a relatively low creative time pressure is experienced', says Sijbom.


The research also recommends that when an organization stimulates feedback seeking, it needs to ensure that the work environment is optimal enough to utilize the benefits of feedback. In addition, managers should not only stimulate their employees to actively cultivate relationships with potential feedback sources within and outside the organization, but also provide sufficient time to process the feedback obtained from these relationships.

 DOI: 10.1002/job.2235

 


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