Increasing creative fluency in organizational environments: A comparison of the relative impact between environmental factors
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Changes brought about primarily by accelerating information technology have elevated innovation to the forefront of organizations? strategic concerns as the only sustainable competitive advantage. Innovation in turn requires organizational environments where creativity is supported and fostered. The vital initial step in an effective change effort to bring about more creative organizational environments is to conduct an assessment. However, no new creativity assessment instrument has been developed in over two decades. This study presents the findings from a new organizational creativity assessment instrument, supplemented with data from a qualitative data-collection process involving in-depth interviews with a few representative employees from each organization. The development of the instrument draws upon recent creativity literature, primarily theoretical and anecdotal, resulting in 28 questionnaire items. Each item represents a potential environmental influence of creativity in a particular organization. One subset is physical or tangible environmental factors, such as the building where people work, as well as less tangible factors, such as ?management response.? The instrument was administered in four different organizations in four different industries in an effort to begin to determine the utility of the instrument (n = 81). The results from the different organizations, including straightforward statistical tests, facilitated comparisons of differences in the amount and type of creativity supports between organizations. The qualitative data provided a check of confirmatory detail to the quantitative results, as well as providing rich contextual detail. A factor analysis was conducted on the overall results in order to determine if there was a possible underlying structure to the multitude of variables included in the survey instrument. The analysis revealed five factors, Creativity Management Process, Cultural Support Mechanisms, Organizational Inputs, Discussion Stimuli, and Organizational Helpfulness. Overall, the major conclusion is that the instrument is a potentially useful tool warranting further development and refinement and, ultimately, a full test of its validity and reliability. Also, the qualitative data added valuable context to understanding an organization?s creativity culture, as well as providing confirmatory support for the survey findings. An additional finding is that physical aspects of the environment were not recognized as significant factors in influencing organizational creativity.