Even though it is often desirable, fostering individual creativity within organizations is far from easy. In an attempt to understand the factors that are likely to improve individuals’ creative contributions, studies have mostly focused on the importance of individual traits (see Barron & Harrington 1981), on facets of organizations and jobs (e.g., rewards), on job complexity (Oldham & Cummings 1996), and on the evaluative context (Shalley & Perry-Smith 2001). Scholars have therefore given less attention to the role played by social factors on creativity. For instance, researchers have proposed that communication and interactions with diverse others enhance creativity (e.g., Amabile 1996) while others have examined the role of several social network parameters on creativity (Perry-Smith 2006; Perry-Smith & Mannucci 2017). However, if creativity has truly a social nature (Woodman et al. 1993), then focusing more explicitly on the social context and the interactions among employees should enrich our understanding of what it takes to be creative. Building on this, this paper takes on the view that the structure of the network where people find themselves can influence their creativity. Even though this relationship has been extensively investigated in the literature, so far research has mostly focused on the diversity of information potentially accessible from alters in a network, overlooking the extent to which the diversity of knowledge possessed by the ego can determine access to new knowledge (e.g., Aral & Van Alstyne, 2011; Rogan & Mors, 2014). In order to fill this gap, this paper departs from Aral and Van Alstyne (2011) paper and develop a conceptual model, trying to integrate their view in explaining the relationship between structural position and creativity. While they contend that alters’ knowledge is relevant for ego to access novel information, we extend (or complement) their contribution and focus on the relevance of ego’s knowledge. Moreover, while they are interested in understanding what makes diverse versus cohesive networks more beneficial for creativity, we focus only on the former and examine what matters for actors occupying a structural hole to increase their creativity. We particularly posit that egos in diverse networks (i.e., brokers) can benefit from their position advantage depending on the knowledge they possess in relation to their alters. So, contrary to Aral and Van Alstyne (2011), we hold constant alters’ knowledge in order to study the influence that different types of ego’s knowledge can have on his/her creativity. For this purpose, we ground on Postrel’s (2002) distinction between specialized knowledge and trans-specialist aiming to answer the question: “to what extent does broker’s specialized knowledge vs trans-specialist understanding benefit his/her own creativity?”. Moreover, we propose that the relationship between broker’s knowledge and his/her creativity will depend upon his/her metaknowledge, i.e., the extent to which he/she knows what others know.

What it takes to be a creative broker: The influence of metaknowledge / Lombardi, Sara; Cavaliere, Vincenzo; Giustiniano, Luca. - Surprise in and around Organizations: Journeys to the Unexpected, (2018), pp. 1-9. (34th EGOS Colloquium 2018, Tallin, Estonia, July 5-7, 2018).

What it takes to be a creative broker: The influence of metaknowledge

Sara, Lombardi
;
Luca, Giustiniano
2018

Abstract

Even though it is often desirable, fostering individual creativity within organizations is far from easy. In an attempt to understand the factors that are likely to improve individuals’ creative contributions, studies have mostly focused on the importance of individual traits (see Barron & Harrington 1981), on facets of organizations and jobs (e.g., rewards), on job complexity (Oldham & Cummings 1996), and on the evaluative context (Shalley & Perry-Smith 2001). Scholars have therefore given less attention to the role played by social factors on creativity. For instance, researchers have proposed that communication and interactions with diverse others enhance creativity (e.g., Amabile 1996) while others have examined the role of several social network parameters on creativity (Perry-Smith 2006; Perry-Smith & Mannucci 2017). However, if creativity has truly a social nature (Woodman et al. 1993), then focusing more explicitly on the social context and the interactions among employees should enrich our understanding of what it takes to be creative. Building on this, this paper takes on the view that the structure of the network where people find themselves can influence their creativity. Even though this relationship has been extensively investigated in the literature, so far research has mostly focused on the diversity of information potentially accessible from alters in a network, overlooking the extent to which the diversity of knowledge possessed by the ego can determine access to new knowledge (e.g., Aral & Van Alstyne, 2011; Rogan & Mors, 2014). In order to fill this gap, this paper departs from Aral and Van Alstyne (2011) paper and develop a conceptual model, trying to integrate their view in explaining the relationship between structural position and creativity. While they contend that alters’ knowledge is relevant for ego to access novel information, we extend (or complement) their contribution and focus on the relevance of ego’s knowledge. Moreover, while they are interested in understanding what makes diverse versus cohesive networks more beneficial for creativity, we focus only on the former and examine what matters for actors occupying a structural hole to increase their creativity. We particularly posit that egos in diverse networks (i.e., brokers) can benefit from their position advantage depending on the knowledge they possess in relation to their alters. So, contrary to Aral and Van Alstyne (2011), we hold constant alters’ knowledge in order to study the influence that different types of ego’s knowledge can have on his/her creativity. For this purpose, we ground on Postrel’s (2002) distinction between specialized knowledge and trans-specialist aiming to answer the question: “to what extent does broker’s specialized knowledge vs trans-specialist understanding benefit his/her own creativity?”. Moreover, we propose that the relationship between broker’s knowledge and his/her creativity will depend upon his/her metaknowledge, i.e., the extent to which he/she knows what others know.
creativity, knowledge management, knowledge brokerage, brokerage
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11385/177908
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