Scale of Creative Potential at Work: validity based on external criteria and reliability evaluation

Escala de Potencial Criativo no Trabalho: Investigação de Evidências de Validade Baseadas em Critério Externo e Precisão

Escala de Potencial Creativo en el Trabajo: investigación de evidencias de validez basadas en criterios externos y precisión

Gabriela Fabbro Spadari Tatiana de Cássia Nakano Monica de Oliveira Rocha João Carlos Caselli Messias About the authors

Resumo

O presente estudo visou adicionar evidências de validade à Escala de Potencial Criativo no Trabalho, por meio da investigação da influência de variáveis relacionadas ao sujeito (gênero, idade e nível de escolaridade) e ao ambiente organizacional (tempo de empresa) nos resultados do teste e investigar a precisão do instrumento por meio do método de teste e reteste. A amostra foi composta por 371 participantes, com idade média de 33,1 anos, funcionários de empresas de pequeno a grande porte. Nenhuma das variáveis se mostrou significativa nos dois fatores do instrumento (bloqueios e barreiras à criatividade; atributos e características que favorecem a criatividade). Somente três interações se mostraram significativas (sexo x idade no Fator 1; escolaridade x idade no Fator 1; idade x tempo no Fator 2). A precisão se mostrou adequada (r = 0,650 no Fator 1 e r = 0,729 no Fator 2). Estudos voltados à investigação de outras qualidades psicométricas do instrumento são recomendados.

Keywords:
creativity; psychometric criteria; organizations

Abstract

The goal of this study was to add evidence of validity for the Creative Potential at Work Scale, by investigating the influences of variables related to the subject (sex, age, level of education) and the organizational environment (length of time in the company) on test results. The reliability of the instrument was also examined using the test and retest method. Participants in the study were 371 employees employed in small to large companies with a mean age of 33.1 years. There was no significant relationship between any of the variables and the two factors of the instrument (blocks and barriers to creativity; attributes and characteristics that promote creativity). There were only three significant interactions in the study (sex x age for Factor 1; education x age for Factor 1; age x time for Factor 2). In this study, reliability was found to be adequate (r=.650 for Factor 1 and r=.729 for Factor 2). The instrument should be investigated further to determine its other psychometric properties.

Keywords:
creativity; psychometric criteria; organizations

Resumen

El presente estudio tuvo como objetivo agregar evidencias de validez a la Escala de Potencial Creativo en el Trabajo, investigando la influencia de las variables relacionadas con el tema (género, edad y nivel de educación) y el entorno organizacional (tiempo en la empresa) en los resultados a través del método de test-retest. La muestra consistió en 371 participantes, con una edad media de 33.1 años, empleados de pequeñas y grandes empresas. Ninguna de las variables resultó significativa en los dos factores del instrumento (bloqueos y barreras a la creatividad; atributos y características que favorecen la creatividad). Solo tres interacciones fueron significativas (sexo x edad en el Factor 1; educación x edad en el Factor 1; edad x tiempo en el Factor 2). La precisión demostró ser adecuada (r = 0.650 en el Factor 1 y r = 0.729 en el Factor 2). Se recomienda la realización de estudios para investigar otras cualidades psicométricas del instrumento.

Palabras clave:
creatividad; criterios psicométricos; organizaciones

Creative thinking at work, typically defined as the development of new, useful, and appropriate ideas that lead to new products, services, or organizational processes (Amabile, 1988Amabile, T. M. (1988). A model of creativity and innovation in organizations. In B. M. Staw & L. L. Cummings (Eds.), Research in organizational behavior (pp. 67-127). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.), has proven to be an essential component in organizations. It comprises conceptual or practical ruptures, which result in new processes, concepts, services, or products for commercial application (Muzzio, 2017Muzzio, H. (2017). Indivíduo, Liderança e Cultura: Evidências de uma Gestão da Criatividade. Revista de Administração Contemporânea, 21(1), 107-124. https://doi.org/10.1590/1982-7849rac2017160039
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). This characteristic is considered a vital element for companies to thrive in environments marked by constant change and market instability, to respond to unforeseen challenges and situations, and to develop new resources (Rocha & Wechlser, 2018Rocha, K.N. & Wechsler, S.M. (2018). Avaliação da criatividade nas organizações: estudo comparativo de técnicas usuais e estandardizadas de avaliação psicológica. Revista Iberoamericana de Diagnóstico y Evaluación Psicológica, 3(48), 139-149. https://doi/org/10.21865/ridep48.3.12
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; Zhou & Hoever, 2014Zhou, J. & Hoever, I.J. (2014). Research in workplace creativity: a review and redirection. The Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 1, 333-359. https://doi/org/10.1146/annurev-orgpsych-031413-091226
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), while a lack of creativity leads to stagnation and makes the organization incapable of making or following changes (Serrat, 2017Serrat O. (2017) Harnessing Creativity and Innovation in the Workplace. In O. Serrat (Org.), Knowledge Solutions (pp.903-910). Singapore: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-0983-9_102
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).

Over the previous ten years, a series of comprehensive reviews related to creativity in organizations have been carried out, aiming to deepen the understanding of the factors that promote or inhibit creativity in this context (Spadari & Nakano, 2015Spadari, G.F. & Nakano, T.C. (2015). Criatividade no contexto organizacional: revisão de pesquisas. Revista Sul Americana de Psicologia, 3(2), 182-209.; Zhou & Shalley, 2011Zhou, J. & Shalley, C. E. (2011). Deepening our understanding of creativity in the workplace: A review of different approaches to creativity research. In S. Zedeck (Ed.), APA handbook of industrial and organizational psychology (p. 275-302). Washington: American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/12169-009
https://doi.org/10.1037/12169-009...
). These studies have found that both personal characteristics and contextual factors are involved, with this perception reinforcing the importance of refining the comprehension of the contextual variables’ role in creativity (Zhou & Hoever, 2014Zhou, J. & Shalley, C. E. (2011). Deepening our understanding of creativity in the workplace: A review of different approaches to creativity research. In S. Zedeck (Ed.), APA handbook of industrial and organizational psychology (p. 275-302). Washington: American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/12169-009
https://doi.org/10.1037/12169-009...
). Neither environmental nor personal factors, in isolation, can reveal the complete profile of creativity (Duan, Li, Tang, Zhang, & Cheng, 2019Duan, W., Li, Y., Tang, X., Zhang, H., & Cheng, X. (2019). Determination of the Classification Role of Person-Environment Fit Scale for Creativity in Workplace Context. Creativity Research Journal, 31(2), 198-206. https://doi.org/10.1080/10400419.2019.1594522
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). Therefore, it can be stated that the environment and organizational culture may directly affect creativity, more precisely individual and team creative behaviors (Taha, Sirková, & Ferencová, 2016Taha, A., Sirkobá, M., & Ferencová, M. (2016). The impact of organizational culture on creativity and innovation. Polish Journal of Management Studies, 14(1), 7-17. https://doi.org/10.17512/pjms.2016.14.1.01
https://doi.org/10.17512/pjms.2016.14.1....
). As organizations must compete, increasingly, based on knowledge and innovation, personal elements, related to the creativity of employees, can become an important element in the formulation and execution of strategies and in obtaining competitive advantage (Gerhart & Fang, 2015Gehart, B. & Fang, M. (2015). Pay, intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, performance, and creativity in the workplace: revisiting long-held beliefs. The Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 2, 489-521. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-orgpsych-032414-111418
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), is considered an essential feature for potential employees (Yoo, Jang, Ho, Seo, & Yoo, 2019Yoo, S., Jang, S., Ho, Y., Seo, J., & Yoo, M.H. (2019). Fostering workplace creativity: examining the roles of job design and organizational context. Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 57, 127-149. https://doi/org/10.1111/1744-7941.12186
https://doi/org/10.1111/1744-7941.12186...
). Furthermore, creativity at work can transform the experience of employees regarding the importance of their work, increasing their self-esteem and the belief that they can make a difference in their organizational context by overcoming the challenges that are present in this environment and also due to the possibility of proposing changes (Tavares, 2016Tavares, S.M. (2016). How does creativity at work influence employee’s positive affect at work?. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 25(4), 525-539. https://doi.org/10.1080/1359432X.2016.1186012
https://doi.org/10.1080/1359432X.2016.11...
).

Regarding individual variables, most studies have investigated the influence of personality characteristics, such as self-perception, goal setting, leadership (Egan, 2005), autonomy, self-efficacy, self-confidence, emotional regulation, humor (James et al., 2004James, K. Brodersen, M., & Eisenberg, J. (2004). Workplace affect and workplace creativity: a review and preliminary model. Human Performance, 17(2), 169-194. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327043hup1702_3
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), risk-taking, flexibility, motivation, and well-being, among others (Mansour, Iscandar, Abdelmohsen, & Yassa, 2016Mansour, Y.M., Iscandar, M.F., Abdelmohsen, S.M., & Yassa, N.M. (2016). Workplace creativity between theory and practice. Middle East Journal of Applied Sciences, 6(4), 878-883. Recuperado de http://www.curresweb.com/mejas/mejas/2016/878-883.pdf.
http://www.curresweb.com/mejas/mejas/201...
). However, it is emphasized that talent management and organizational growth and competitiveness, will depend heavily on the managers’ understanding of creativity and its growing importance in organizations (Ludviga, 2017Ludviga I. (2017) Social Representations of Employee Creativity in Workplace: Are Myths Still Alive?. In M. Bilgin, H. Danis, E. Demir, & U. Can (Eds.), Country Experiences in Economic Development, Management and Entrepreneurship (pp. 899-914). Switzerland: Springer.). Likewise, the speed with which the changes occur should be highlighted as some ideas can become creative or stop being creative, depending on the market’s resources and needs at that time (Hughes, Lee, Tian, Newman, & Legood, 2018Hughes, D.J., Lee, A., Tian, A.W., Newman, A., & Legood, A. (2018). Leadership, creativity, and innovation: a critical review and practical recommendations. The Leadership Quarterly, 29(5), 549-569. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2018.03.001
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2018.03...
).

Regarding the contextual variables, studies have focused on aspects such as culture and organizational climate, risk-taking, continuous learning, teamwork, company size (Araujo, Modolo, Carneiro Junior, & Vils, 2017Araujo, C.C.S., Modolo, D., Carneiro Junior, E., & Vils, L. (2017). Análise da relação entre clima organizacional e o desempenho criativo em organizações brasileiras. Navus - Revista de Gestão e Tecnologia, 7(2), 97-112. http://doi.org/10.22279/navus.2017.v7n2.p97-112.515
http://doi.org/10.22279/navus.2017.v7n2....
; Mumford & Simonton, 1997Mumford, M.D. & Simonton, D.K. (1997). Creativity in the workplace: people, problems, and structures. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 31(1), 1-6. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.2162-6057.1997.tb00776.x
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), supervisor behaviors, performance assessment, rewards, evaluation system, management practices, feedback (Montag, Maertz, & Baer, 2012Montag, T., Maerts, C.P., Baer, M. (2012). A critical analysis of the workplace creativity criterion space. Journal of Management, 38(4), 1362-1386. https://doi/org/10/1177/0149206312441835.
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), motivation to innovate, resources (financial, people), and management practices (Sierra, Marchiano, Banzato, & Rabechini Junior, 2017Sierra, J.C.V., Marchiano, M., Banzato, C.R., & Rabechini Junior, R. (2017). Fatores de clima organizacional relevantes para a criatividade: estudo de caso em empresas brasileiras. Revista Ciência Administrativa, 23(1), 217-244. http://dx.doi.org/10.5020/2318-0722.23.1.217-244
http://dx.doi.org/10.5020/2318-0722.23.1...
). Physical aspects of the environment have also been investigated as factors that can foster the creativity of employees, such as adequate furniture, equipment, decorative elements, presence of windows, and space for relaxation, among others, with a pleasant environment being favorable for the creative expression (Meinel, Maier, Wagner, & Voigt, 2017Meinel, M., Maier, L., Wagner, T., & Voigt, K. (2017). Designing Creativity-Enhancing Workspaces: A Critical Look at Empirical Evidence (2017). Journal of Technology and Innovation Management 1(1), 1-12. Recuperado de https://ssrn.com/abstract=3051058
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).

Despite this differentiation, it is important to consider the interactions between individual, group, and organizational factors to consider the situational and contextual influences on creative behavior in the workplace (Lee, 2016Lee, Y. (2016). Creative workplace characteristics and innovative start-up companies. Facilities, 34(7/8), 413-432. https://doi.org/10.1108/F-06-2014-0054
https://doi.org/10.1108/F-06-2014-0054...
; Yoo et al., 2019Yoo, S., Jang, S., Ho, Y., Seo, J., & Yoo, M.H. (2019). Fostering workplace creativity: examining the roles of job design and organizational context. Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 57, 127-149. https://doi/org/10.1111/1744-7941.12186
https://doi/org/10.1111/1744-7941.12186...
). While, for a long time, the work, performed routinely and repetitively, ended up hampering creative expression (Mumford & Simonton, 1997Mumford, M.D. & Simonton, D.K. (1997). Creativity in the workplace: people, problems, and structures. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 31(1), 1-6. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.2162-6057.1997.tb00776.x
https://doi.org/10.1002/j.2162-6057.1997...
), the development of new technologies and global competition made companies turn to the importance of creativity as a tool to remain competitive and develop new products and services. Consequently, in recent decades, this skill has come to be valued in different positions, not only those related to marketing, for example, but as a skill that, present in all workers, helps the competitiveness and success of the organization (James, Brodersen, & Eisenberg, 2004James, K. Brodersen, M., & Eisenberg, J. (2004). Workplace affect and workplace creativity: a review and preliminary model. Human Performance, 17(2), 169-194. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327043hup1702_3
https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327043hup1702...
).

Creativity can result from individuals or teams, occurring independently of their functional areas or positions in the organizational hierarchy (Zhou & Hoever, 2014Zhou, J. & Hoever, I.J. (2014). Research in workplace creativity: a review and redirection. The Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 1, 333-359. https://doi/org/10.1146/annurev-orgpsych-031413-091226
https://doi/org/10.1146/annurev-orgpsych...
). However, the organizational culture must be able to eliminate barriers for the manifestation of creativity in all stages and areas of the organization (Martins, Marangoni, Viana, & Bezerra, 2017Martins, A., Marangoni, V., Viana, R., & Bezerra, A. (2017). Cultura organizacional e seus determinantes para estímulo de criatividade na Samsung Ocean Center - Manaus - AM. Amazon Business Research, 1, 1-20. Recuperado de http://periodicos.uea.edu.br/index.php/abr/article/view/1074/708.
http://periodicos.uea.edu.br/index.php/a...
). Therefore, when organizations aim to develop creativity, they need to encourage and inspire their employees to view their work as challenging, meaningful, and important (Wang, 2018Wang, P. (2018). Job characteristic and uncertainty avoidance: into the black box of transformational leadership effect on creativity. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 9(0), 1-12. https://doi.org/10/1002/jocb.367.
https://doi.org/10/1002/jocb.367...
). On this point, Hermida, Clem, and Guss (2019Hermida, Y., Clem, W., & Guss, C.D. (2019). The inseparable three: how organization and culture can foster individual creativity. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 2133. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02133
https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02133...
) emphasized that if organizations provide an enabling environment in which employees need not be afraid of criticism and consequences, they will possibly feel freer to express their creative potential, becoming more proactive. Likewise, an organizational climate marked by a supportive environment, feedback, resources, and opportunities also promote workplace creativity.

It should be noted, however, that creativity cannot be applied to all functions. Some professions are more structured and require their employees to act within recommended guidelines, and, in these cases, creativity is highly discouraged (Wolniak & Grebski, 2018Wolniak, R. & Grebski, M.E. (2018). Innovativeness and creativity of the workforce as factors stimulating economic growth in modern economies. Scientific Papers of Silesian University of Technology, 116 (1995), 215-226. Recuperado de https://yadda.icm.edu.pl/baztech/element/bwmeta1.element.baztech-410a0e1a-dd26-4a9d-a3c5-9d1502c1d3e5/c/wolniak_innovativeness2_zn_org_2018_116.pdf
https://yadda.icm.edu.pl/baztech/element...
). As examples, the authors cite airline pilots and nurses, trained to follow certain procedures strictly. However, even in these cases, they emphasize that creative and innovative suggestions related to changing procedures are always welcome and should be considered.

Due to the recognized importance of creativity, an instrument for evaluating it has been developed. This scale, named “Creative Potential at Work Scale”, has had its validity determined through the internal structure and its reliability determined through internal consistency, demonstrating favorable results (Spadari, Nakano, & Peixoto, 2017Spadari, G.F., Nakano, T.C., & Peixoto, E.M. (2017). Escala de Potencial Criativo em Organizações: evidências de validade e precisão. Avaliação Psicológica, 16(1), 29-37. https://doi.org/10.15689/ap.2017.1601.04.
https://doi.org/10.15689/ap.2017.1601.04...
). In considering that the search for test quality must be a continuous process, the present study focused on adding evidence of validity for the scale by examining the impact of variables related to the subject (sex, age, and level of education) and organizational time (company time) on test results, and investigating its reliability.

Method

Participants

The sample consisted of 371 participants, aged between 18 and 73 years (M=33.1; SD=10.1), 171 from a database referring to previous studies conducted with the instrument (CAAE 48865115.8.0000.5481) (Spadari et al., 2017Spadari, G.F., Nakano, T.C., & Peixoto, E.M. (2017). Escala de Potencial Criativo em Organizações: evidências de validade e precisão. Avaliação Psicológica, 16(1), 29-37. https://doi.org/10.15689/ap.2017.1601.04.
https://doi.org/10.15689/ap.2017.1601.04...
). The responses of another 157 subjects through an online database (Survey Monkey) were added to this database, as well as a further 43 face-to-face applications with employees from different branches (real estate, industrial, financial, civil, hospital, and public construction) of several small, medium and large companies.

Of the participants, 71% were female. Regarding their educational level, 46% of the participants had complete higher education, 28% were postgraduates, 15% had incomplete higher education, and 8% had completed high school. Two subjects did not respond. Concerning the length of time in the company, 54% had worked between 1 to 5 years in the current job, 20% between 6 and 11 years in the job, 8% less than 1 year, 6% between 12 and 17 years, 3% from 18 to 25 years, 2% between 26 and 30 years, and only 1% had been in the current job for more than 30 years. A total of 18 participants did not provide this information.

Part of this sample had its results considered for the estimation of reliability. This sample was composed of 92 participants, aged between 18 and 60 years (M=28.5; SD=9.1), of which 76.1% (n=70) were female. Regarding the level of education, 38.0% (n=35) of the interviewees were in higher education and/or had not completed it, 25.0% (n=23) had completed higher education, 19.6% (n=18) were postgraduate students and 15.2% (n=14) had attended high school. Also, 46.7% (n=44) had worked for 1 to 5 years in the company, 30.4% (n=28) for less than 1 year, 15.2% (n=14) between 6 and 11 years, and 4.4% (n=4) had worked in the company for more than 12 years, while 3.3% (n=3) of the participants did not respond.

Instrument

The Creative Potential at Work Scale is composed of 19 items that are answered on a five-point Likert-type scale (ranging from totally agree to totally disagree) and assess characteristics associated with creativity. It has a two-factor structure. The first factor is called “Blocks and barriers to creativity”, consisting of 11 items and involving statements inversely related to creativity. Factor 2, composed of 8 items, is called “Attributes and characteristics that favor creativity” and includes items directly related to creativity.

Procedures

After approval by the ethics committee (CAAE 02515318.5.0000.5481), the researchers contacted the selected companies to schedule the data collection. Subsequently, the consent forms were given to employees, and those who agreed to participate responded to the scale. The application was carried out collectively, for three weeks, with no response time limit. The average time taken to complete the scale was 30 minutes. The same procedure was adopted when collecting data for the researcher’s Master’s degree.

Another part of the sample (n=72) responded to an online questionnaire (Survey Monkey), with people that we’re currently working being invited. The invitation was shared on a social network. In these cases, the participants started the questionnaire with explanations relevant to the study. They accessed the research consent form, which had to be accepted for the data collection. Again, the average time to complete the questionnaire was 30 minutes.

The participants were also informed about the possibility of participating in a second phase of the study. This step involved responding to the applied questionnaire around 15 days after the first application. Those that agreed to participate responded to the instrument collectively in a single application session, with an estimated duration of 30 minutes.

Data analysis

After the end of data collection, all databases were combined into a single format, which was analyzed, considering the responses of 371 participants. Initially, descriptive statistics were estimated for each factor of the scale. Then, the analysis of variance was applied to identify the influence of variables related to the subject (sex, age, level of education) and the organizational environment (company time) on the measures of the creativity at work scale (factor 1 and factor 2).

The selection of variables was based on notes found in the scientific literature, where studies on creativity sought to investigate the influence of these factors on creative expression. Studies with this objective are limited, particularly in the context of the work. Therefore, in addition to data about how these variables influence the study’s focus instrument results, the results also sought to add evidence for questions about the factors that influence creative expression.

Reliability was investigated using the test-retest method to identify the stability of the results over time. This procedure is used to refer to how similar the results of a test applied at two different times are, in order to indicate the degree of possible generalization of the results over time (Nunes & Primi, 2010). In this way, reliability is related to the degree to which the test scores have known measurement errors (Urbina, 2007).

Results

Initially, the descriptive statistics referring to Factor 1, which corresponds to “Blocks and barriers to creativity”, were estimated. The results are presented in Table 1, according to the level of education, age, sex and length of time in the company.

Table 1
Descriptive Statistics - Factor 1

From the simple visualization of the mean scores presented in the Table, it was noticed that, based on the means of the groups in Factor 1, those male individuals, those with education corresponding to postgraduate studies, aged between 38 to 48 years and that had been in the company for a long time (between 26 and 30 years) presented higher mean scores concerning blocks and barriers to creativity. Subsequently, descriptive analyses referring to Factor 2, called “Attributes and characteristics that favor creativity”, were carried out, separated according to the level of education, age, sex, and time in the company. The results are presented in Table 2.

Table 2
Descriptive Statistics - Factor 2

Table 2 shows that the females presented higher results in Factor 2 when compared to the males. This finding indicates that women have greater attributes and characteristics that favor creativity. With higher means in this factor, the same situation was verified for individuals with high school education, aged between 18 to 26 years, who had been in the company for 1 to 5 years. To investigate whether the differences between the groups were significant, the Analysis of Variance was applied to each of the variables, and their interactions. The results are presented in Table 3.

Table 3
ANOVA for the Variables Sex, Education, Age, Time in the Company and their Interactions

According to Table 3, the results show that in Factor 1, none of the variables was significant in isolation. The interaction between the sex and age variables was significant (F=3.040; p=.029). The mean scores show that this influence was present in the male subjects aged between 38 and 48 years of age, which presented greater creative blocks. The interaction between education and age was also significant (F=2.133; p=.010), in this case, in favor of individuals aged 38 to 48 years and postgraduate students. The other variables did not influence on this factor.

According to the Table, concerning Factor 2, again, none of the variables proved to be significant in isolation. Only the interaction between age and length of time in the company was significant (F=2.441; p=.015), in favor of participants aged between 27 and 37 years and that had been in the company for between 12 and 17 years.

Next, the reliability of the instrument was estimated through the test-retest. The descriptive statistics for the two moments, and the value of the correlation found for each measure, are presented in Table 4. The results indicate that, in relation to Factor 1, the participant’s mean score was slightly higher at the time of the test, the same happening in relation to Factor 2. Subsequently, to verify the instrument’s reliability, the non-parametric statistic using Spearman’s p was estimated, comparing the results obtained by the participants at both moments.

Table 4
Descriptive Statistics and Spearman Correlation between Scale Measures

The results indicated that, about to Factor 1, the correlation between the test-retest was r=.650 (p≤.001). For Factor 2, the correlation was also significant (r=.729; p≤.001). For both factors, the correlations proved to be significant, verifying the investigated reliability, consistent with the values determined as satisfactory for this type of study (.600 or greater), according to Resolution No.9 of the Federal Council of Psychology (2018).

The negative correlation between Factor 1 and Factor 2 in the test (r=-.448; p≤.001) and retest (r=-.437; p≤.001) should also be highlighted, confirming the interpretation of the factors, with one being favorable for creativity while the other is characterized by the barriers that hinder creative expression.

Discussion

The present study aimed to investigate the influence of variables related to the individual and the context on the creative potential at work. In general, the results demonstrated that none of the variables investigated (sex, age, education level and length of time in the company) were significant, so that, in the analyzed instrument, these variables in isolation did not influence the results of the participants.

In line with the assumptions found in the scientific literature (Binnewies, Ohly, & Nielsen, 2008; Kogan, 1974; Rocha & Wechsler, 2019), the influence of the sex variable was absent, both about blocks and to factors that stimulate creativity, indicating that men and women are equality creative. These results can be related to the psychological androgyny that creative individuals present regarding the preconception of roles associated with sex, simultaneously demonstrating opposite characteristics such as aggression, protection, sensitivity, rigidity, dominance, and submission (Nakano, 2012).

This result can also be explained by the increasingly common presence of women at all organizational levels, representing an important part of the labor market (Oliveira, Gaio, & Bonacim, 2009). When engaging in the professional field, these women begin to value intellectuality, aiming to seek equality with the male sex (Wechsler, 2008). It is therefore understood that the social context has a direct influence on the social role played by women, which may indicate a female advance and empowerment concerning to creative potential (Rocha & Wechsler, 2019), although certain prejudices can be found (Prado, Alencar, & Fleith, 2016; Sabharwal, 2015; Vecchio, 2002).

The second variable investigated, education, was also not shown to influence the participant’s creativity, in either of the factors of the instrument, reinforcing the studies by Nakano, Campos, Silva, and Pereira (2011). These results contradict most studies that have investigated the influence of education on creativity (Nakano & Wechsler, 2006; Pannels, Pannels, & Rhoads, 2005; Wu, Cheng, Ip, & McBride-Chang, 2005), with them indicating better performance in creativity tests by university students when compared with high school and elementary students. In the present study, this fact was not confirmed, neither in relation to factor 1 nor factor 2.

A possible explanatory hypothesis is that, as only working adults were investigated, the differences due to the level of education were not noticed. Many times, having to adapt to the work environment causes creativity to be discouraged due to the need to follow established orders and procedures. The lack of space for creative expression may have caused the equality in the results, both about the perception of impeding factors and favorable factors in the work environment of the participants, given the valorization of logical thinking and conformity to the rules that still prevails in many organizations (Nakano, 2009).

Another important observation to comprehend these results is based on the fact that the educational levels were grouped, regardless of the area of training. It should be noted. However, that previous studies did not identify differences between areas (Nakano, Santos, Zavarize, Wechsler, & Martins, 2010). Accordingly, it is suggested that longitudinal studies are conducted, accompanying the subjects throughout their education process and, consequently, checking for possible changes in their creativity levels.

Likewise, there were also no significant differences regarding the influence of age and creativity among the groups analyzed, in line with the studies by Amabile et al. (2005) and Binnewies et al. (2008). Conversely, among the few studies in this regard, Binnewies et al. (2008) emphasized that age is positively related to creativity, corroborating Wechsler’s findings (2009). Lubart (2007) stated that generally, creative production tends to decrease with age, greater in the first years of life. These difficulties may be related to the developmental issue since the literature suggests that everyone is born with creative potential. However, the subject’s relationship in the environment can inhibit this potential (Sternberg & Lubart, 1995).

The final variable analyzed was the length of time in the company. Again, no significant influence was found for this variable on either of the factors. Part of this situation can be comprehended given the finding that companies tend to be contradictory, aiming for creative employees, however, showing resistance to change limiting the ideas they propagate (Alencar, 1996; Wechsler, 2001). This situation can lead to an inhibition of this potential. According to Sternberg and Lubart (1995), hostile environments are directly related to the repression of creative potential, so that medium- and long-term permanence in companies inhibits creativity.

Considering that the variables investigated (sex, age, education level and length of time in the company) were not significant, in isolation, it is essential to comprehend the influence of the context for the creative potential at work. The work of an individual alone is not enough to generate organizational creativity. Although it can generate individual insights, it is not enough to ensure innovation if the organizational environment is not conducive to creative expression. The promotion of a favorable context that encourages freedom, proactivity, and recognizes creativity as a fundamental value supports transforming individual insight into collective innovation (Muzzio, 2017Muzzio, H. (2017). Indivíduo, Liderança e Cultura: Evidências de uma Gestão da Criatividade. Revista de Administração Contemporânea, 21(1), 107-124. https://doi.org/10.1590/1982-7849rac2017160039
https://doi.org/10.1590/1982-7849rac2017...
).

Bruno-Faria and Veiga (2015Bruno-Faria, M. de F., & Veiga, H. M. da S. (2015). Indicadores de condições para criar no ambiente de trabalho: evidências de validação empírica de uma medida. Revista de Administração, 50(4), 492-506. https://doi.org/10.5700/rausp1215
https://doi.org/10.5700/rausp1215...
) reinforce that there are conditions that can facilitate the creative expression of professionals in their daily work activities and in the generation of innovations, such as support from the immediate manager in the face of encouraging experimentation, suggestions, and incentives to generate new ideas, perception regarding the stimulating nature of the activities carried out, organizational strategies and actions to encourage the generation of new ideas, a pleasant atmosphere among coworkers, freedom of expression and different forms of action, and characteristics of the physical environment that facilitate creativity, such as furniture, physical space, materials, technological resources, and silence.

Additionally, the authors relate unfavorable conditions such as managerial attitudes that hinder or prevent the expression of creativity in the work environment, communication difficulties, rigid norms and rules in the organization, overwork, and shortage of time. When professionals realize that knowledge is not widely shared in the workgroup and that support is insufficient for the manifestation of creativity and innovation, creative behavior is not expressed (Teng, Hu, & Chang, 2019Teng, C., Hu, C., & Chang, J. (2019). Triggering Creative Self-Efficacy to Increase Employee Innovation Behavior in the Hospitality Workplace. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 0(0), 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1002/jocb.419
https://doi.org/10.1002/jocb.419...
).

Accordingly, both the organizational climate and culture can facilitate or hinder the emergence of a creative environment. Culture is understood as the set of values, ideological assumptions, symbols and rituals (Ferreira & Assmar, 2008; Puente-Palacios, 2002), encompassing a range of behaviors developed in its history which have the power to influence its individuals (Puente-Palacios, 2002). This acts as a form of organizational control and even informal rules (Rocha, Pelogio, & Añez, 2013). The climate comprises the perceptions shared by individuals in the work context. The way culture is experienced is one of the constructs of great centrality, directly influencing organizational processes, problem solving, decision-making, and operations (Crespo & Wechsler, 2000; Martins, 2008).

According to Figueiredo (2017Figueiredo, M. L. (2017). Clima para Criatividade nas Organizações Empresariais: Construção e Validação de Instrumento. Revista Psicologia e Saúde, 9(1), 75-91. https://doi.org/10.20435/pssa.v9i1.472
https://doi.org/10.20435/pssa.v9i1.472...
), a positive culture of creativity encompasses humor and mutual help, combined with an environment of trust and relaxation. The construction of opportunities for creative learning and involvement in challenging tasks favor a dynamic and motivating environment, which, together with the freedom to create and the proper management of conflicts, complement aspects favorable to the development of the creative potential. In line with this view, Crespo, and Wechsler (2008) and Crespo (2004, 2005) add the valorization of ideas by managers, highlighting that constructs such as the challenge and motivation are propellants of a creative climate.

Messias and Pessotto (2019) corroborate the view that the manager plays an important role developing a culture that encourages and supports the generation of new ideas. The authors emphasize that excessive control does not favor creative potential. By fostering a shared vision, creating a favorable climate, providing adequate resources and structures for the promotion of creativity, the leadership articulates conditions promoting creativity and innovation (Muzzio, 2017Muzzio, H. (2017). Indivíduo, Liderança e Cultura: Evidências de uma Gestão da Criatividade. Revista de Administração Contemporânea, 21(1), 107-124. https://doi.org/10.1590/1982-7849rac2017160039
https://doi.org/10.1590/1982-7849rac2017...
).

Creativity is a necessary condition for innovation to generate a competitive advantage (Gerhart & Fang, 2015Gehart, B. & Fang, M. (2015). Pay, intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, performance, and creativity in the workplace: revisiting long-held beliefs. The Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 2, 489-521. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-orgpsych-032414-111418
https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1146/...
; Muzzio, 2017Muzzio, H. (2017). Indivíduo, Liderança e Cultura: Evidências de uma Gestão da Criatividade. Revista de Administração Contemporânea, 21(1), 107-124. https://doi.org/10.1590/1982-7849rac2017160039
https://doi.org/10.1590/1982-7849rac2017...
). However, generating ideas and implementing ideas are overlapping processes that cannot be easily separated. While the generation of ideas emphasizes exploration and divergent thinking, the implementation process advocates the opposite, emphasizing exploration and convergent thinking (Revilla & Rodríguez-Prado, 2018Revilla, E., & Rodríguez-Prado, B. (2018). Bulding ambidexterity through creativity mechanisms: Contextual drivers of innovation success. Research Policy, 47(9), 1611-1625. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.respol.2018.05.009
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.respol.2018.05...
). In this way, ambidexterity, defined by the authors as the ability to overcome conflicts and maintain a balance between convergent and divergent thinking, is considered a crucial factor for the success of innovation.

Revilla (2019Revilla, E. (2019). O dilema da criatividade. Revista de Administração de Empresas, 59(2), 149-153. https://doi.org/10.1590/s0034-759020190207
https://doi.org/10.1590/s0034-7590201902...
) considers that converting new ideas into innovation encompasses all levels of an organization and requires a culture of ambidexterity, highlighting the diversity of teams and brainstorming techniques as tools that facilitate the promotion of collective creativity. Messias and Pessotto (2019) corroborate this view and add innovative modeling and heuristic redefinition as a way to mobilize creative potentials. Collaborative workspaces, which facilitate informal interactions, continuous information flow, learning, and interaction with multidisciplinary teams, can also be highlighted as forces for generating ideas, innovation, and entrepreneurship (Wijngaarden, Hitters, & Bhansing, 2020Wijngaarden, Y., Hitters, E., & Bhansing, P. V. (2020). Cultivating fertile learning grounds: Collegiality, tacit knowledge and innovation in creative co-working spaces. Geoforum, 109(01), 86-94. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2020.01.005
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2020....
). In summary, we can conclude that individual work is not enough to generate organizational creativity and ensure innovation due to the complex and multifaceted nature of the individual-group-organizational context relationship.

Final Considerations

Results confirmed the instrument’s reliability, constituting an important source of information about psychological tests. According to the results, none of the variables analyzed influence any of the factors that form the scale, which indicates the importance of the environment in stimulating or blocking creativity, which should be of concern to companies that need to remain competitive on the market.

Based on Muzzio’s (2017Muzzio, H. (2017). Indivíduo, Liderança e Cultura: Evidências de uma Gestão da Criatividade. Revista de Administração Contemporânea, 21(1), 107-124. https://doi.org/10.1590/1982-7849rac2017160039
https://doi.org/10.1590/1982-7849rac2017...
) findings, it was possible to draw the conclusion that organizational creativity is a collective capacity resulting from a combination of individual processes, leadership and culture. Keeping in mind that the environment of the organization encompasses the performance of a number of actors, relationship between individual-group-context is inseparable. Promoting organizational creativity requires intervention in all of these dimensions, as it is a vital condition for innovation.

In future studies, it is recommended to further investigate the invariance of the parameters between the different groups and to expand the variables that may be relevant to understanding the roles and influences of the three factors: individual - group - organizational environment.

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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    06 June 2022
  • Date of issue
    Jan-Mar 2022

History

  • Received
    15 May 2020
  • Reviewed
    20 Oct 2020
  • Accepted
    12 Nov 2020
Universidade de São Francisco, Programa de Pós-Graduação Stricto Sensu em Psicologia R. Waldemar César da Silveira, 105, Vl. Cura D'Ars (SWIFT), Campinas - São Paulo, CEP 13045-510, Telefone: (19)3779-3771 - Campinas - SP - Brazil
E-mail: revistapsico@usf.edu.br