How does bureaucracy impact individual creativity? A cross-level investigation of team contextual influences on goal orientation-creativity relationships

Giles Hirst, Daan Van Knippenberg, Chin-Hui Chen, Claudia Sacramento

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254 Citations (Scopus)


Offering important counterpoint to work identifying team influences stimulating creative expression of individual differences in goal orientation, we develop cross-level theory establishing that team bureaucratic practices (centralization and formalization) constrain creative expression. Speaking to the tension between bureaucracy and creativity, findings indicate that this influence is not only negative and that effects of centralization and formalization differ. Surveying 330 employees in 95 teams at the Taiwan Customs Bureau, we found that learning and performance avoid goal orientations had, respectively, stronger positive and weaker negative relationships with creativity under low centralization. A performance-prove orientation was positively related to creativity under low formalization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)624 - 641
Number of pages18
JournalAcademy of Management Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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