Capitalizing on affect to foster team creativity: The moderating roles of team reflexivity and team identification

  • TO, March L (PI)

    Project: Research project

    Project Details


    Teams are critical to an organization’s success, especially in modern day Hong Kong. But teams today must also be creative. Indeed, creativity is recognized as a critical means to create meaningful, lasting value for organizations and their stakeholders in today’s dynamic environment (Zhou & Shalley, 2008). Knowing how to increase and to sustain creativity is a challenge for project leaders and supervisors, and many teams fail to realize their full potential. An important ingredient in team creativity, hitherto under- explored, is emotion. Amabile and her associates (2005) have showed that creative attempts are emotionally charged. Sometimes team members working together feel inspired and experience new and useful insights, but they may also get stuck and feel frustration and even hostility during their interactions. The questions that we address in this research are: What are the emotional processes underlying team creativity? How can team leaders help to translate emotion into energy for team creativity? How can they help team members to work collectively for creative synergy?

    Although there is increasing interest in exploring how emotions in teams may serve as assets or liabilities for team creativity, the existing literature is piecemeal and has yielded mixed results. Moreover, neither emotion nor creativity is stable over time. Much of the existing research uses cross-sectional survey designs or one-time experiments which preclude the study of temporal variation in emotions and creativity within teams over time.

    We know from our earlier research (To, Fisher, Ashkanasy & Rowe, 2012) that moods account for some of the variation in how creative individuals are from day to day. Like individuals, teams may have good days and bad days in terms of how they feel and how creative they are. The purpose of the research outlined in this proposal is to explore dynamic relationships between collective emotion and team creativity, together with a unique set of boundary conditions hypothesized to condition whether teams turn their emotional energy to creative purposes. We will employ Experience Sampling Methodology and multilevel modeling to study dynamic team processes over time.

    In summary, teams are not always at their creative best. Understanding how team creativity varies over time, and the factors affecting these fluctuations, provides a lever for leaders and managers to capitalize on emotion as a resource for improving creative performance.
    Effective start/end date1/11/1328/02/17


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