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Territorial marking allows people to communicate that a territory has been claimed. Across 2 studies, we examine the impact of territorial marking of one's ideas on others' invited creativity when asked to provide feedback. Integrating research on territoriality and self-construal, we examine the effect of control-oriented marking on invited creativity (Study 1), and the extent to which an independent versus interdependent self-construal moderates this effect (Study 2). Results of Study 1 demonstrate that the use of control-oriented marking to communicate a territorial claim over one's ideas inhibits invited creativity, and this effect is mediated by intrinsic motivation. Also consistent with our hypotheses, the results of Study 2 show that self-construal moderates the effect of control-oriented marking on others' intrinsic motivation and creativity. Marking diminishes invited creativity among people with an independent self-construal but serves to enhance the creativity of those with an interdependent self-construal. Consistent with Study 1, intrinsic motivation mediates this moderated effect. Our results highlight the important but heretofore understudied role of territoriality in affecting others' creativity as well as the role of independent versus interdependent self-construal in shaping this effect. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
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Protecting the Turf: The Effect of Territorial Marking on Others’ Creativity
Graham Brown
University of Victoria Markus Baer
Washington University in St. Louis
Territorial marking allows people to communicate that a territory has been claimed. Across 2 studies, we
examine the impact of territorial marking of one’s ideas on others’ invited creativity when asked to
provide feedback. Integrating research on territoriality and self-construal, we examine the effect of
control-oriented marking on invited creativity (Study 1), and the extent to which an independent versus
interdependent self-construal moderates this effect (Study 2). Results of Study 1 demonstrate that the use
of control-oriented marking to communicate a territorial claim over one’s ideas inhibits invited creativity,
and this effect is mediated by intrinsic motivation. Also consistent with our hypotheses, the results of
Study 2 show that self-construal moderates the effect of control-oriented marking on others’ intrinsic
motivation and creativity. Marking diminishes invited creativity among people with an independent
self-construal but serves to enhance the creativity of those with an interdependent self-construal.
Consistent with Study 1, intrinsic motivation mediates this moderated effect. Our results highlight the
important but heretofore understudied role of territoriality in affecting others’ creativity as well as the role
of independent versus interdependent self-construal in shaping this effect.
Keywords: territoriality, creativity, self-construal, cognitive evaluation theory, individualism-
collectivism
Territoriality is part of organizational life. Rooted in the
universal desire to experience ownership of both the tangible
(e.g., physical possessions, spaces) and intangible (e.g., ideas,
responsibilities) objects we interact with, people engage in a
variety of behaviors to mark what they consider to be theirs and
to defend their possession against attempts by others who may
want to infringe on these territories (Altman, 1975;Brown,
2009). Indeed, walk into any organization and you are imme-
diately confronted with a variety of symbols, such as name-
plates on doors and photos on desks, that clearly signal who
owns a particular object.
The function of territorial marking is to communicate to others
that something has been claimed so as to discourage access, usage,
and infringement attempts. Such communication may be func-
tional from the perspective of the focal individual (and perhaps
even from the perspective of the organization) in that it establishes
and preserves social order thereby smoothening interactions and
reducing conflict (e.g., Altman, 1975); however, it may also incur
costs (Brown & Robinson, 2007). Specifically, given that commu-
nicating ownership of an object serves to deter others from engag-
ing with one’s possessions, such marking attempts may be espe-
cially costly in situations where task accomplishment benefits
from the interaction between multiple individuals and the integra-
tion of inputs from all contributing parties (e.g., Johansson, 2006;
Sawyer, 2007). The generation of creative ideas—ideas that are
novel and potentially useful (Amabile, 1996;Oldham & Cum-
mings, 1996)—represents such a task environment.
Over the past decade, scholars increasingly have recognized that
the production of new ideas is no longer the domain of the “lone
genius” but is boosted when people work together in the creative
process (e.g., Wuchty, Jones, & Uzzi, 2007). Given the interper-
sonal nature of the creative process (e.g., Baer, 2010;Perry-Smith
& Shalley, 2003), scholars and practitioners alike have highlighted
the importance of certain behaviors, such as soliciting and offering
feedback, to foster creativity in the workplace (e.g., Zhou, 2008).
Indeed, de Stobbeleir, Ashford, and Buyens (2011) suggested that
feedback seeking—individuals’ proactive attempts to obtain infor-
mation regarding the accuracy or adequacy of their responses
(Ashford & Cummings, 1983;Ilgen, Fisher, & Taylor, 1979)—is
a key self-regulatory tactic that people can use to stimulate their
creativity. Feedback can reduce uncertainty and suggest new ideas
and insights (Ashford & Cummings, 1983), both of which may be
critical to the creative process (Zhou, 2008)—a process which is
fraught with uncertainty and paved with obstacles. Previous re-
search supports this logic. Supervisor and coworker feedback,
particularly when developmental and delivered in an informational
(as opposed to a controlling) manner, enhances creativity (e.g.,
Zhou, 1998;Zhou & George, 2001). Providing support for the
importance of proactive feedback seeking for creativity, de Stob-
beleir et al. (2011) found that the frequency of individuals’ feed-
back inquiry related positively to their creativity as rated by
supervisors.
This article was published Online First May 4, 2015.
Graham Brown, Peter B. Gustavson School of Business, University of
Victoria; Markus Baer, Olin Business School, Washington University in St.
Louis.
The authors contributed equally to this paper. We thank Andrew Knight
and Greg Oldham for their thoughts and suggestions on previous versions
of the manuscript. No territorial marking was needed when soliciting their
input.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Markus
Baer, Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis, One
Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130. E-mail: baer@wustl.edu
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Journal of Applied Psychology © 2015 American Psychological Association
2015, Vol. 100, No. 6, 1785–1797 0021-9010/15/$12.00 http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0039254
1785
Implicit in the above logic is the assumption that those to whom
we reach out for feedback are willing to answer that call. Put
differently, the benefits of seeking feedback depend on whether
others are willing to give it, investing time and energy to enhance
the feedback seeker’s creativity. This argument points to the im-
portance of examining not only the extent to which feedback
seeking ultimately improves the creativity of the individual re-
questing feedback—the focus of previous work (e.g., de Stobbeleir
et al., 2011)—but also how the request for feedback impacts the
feedback giver’s motivation to develop and offer creative ideas in
the first place. Thus, in the present examination we explicitly focus
on how a feedback request is delivered and the effect this delivery
has on the feedback provider’s motivation to develop and contrib-
ute his or her own ideas, as well as the ultimate creativity of the
ideas offered by the feedback provider.
Although requesting others’ creative input is an important in-
gredient in nurturing one’s creativity, these are exactly the type of
interactions that we believe are fraught with territorial behaviors—
behaviors that may serve to derail the creative exchange. People
use markers not only when it comes to physical objects but also
when they try to communicate ownership of intangible objects. In
fact, previous theory suggests that the use of territorial markers
may be even more prevalent when there is ambiguity regarding
ownership of an object (Brown, Lawrence, & Robinson, 2005).
Ownership of ideas is often more ambiguous as compared to
ownership of tangible objects because once an idea is shared, it
may not be obvious to whom it belongs. As a result, people may
feel the need to protect intangible objects, like creative ideas, as
much, if not more so, than tangible ones. Thus, when people
communicate their ideas, the use of territorial markers is likely to
be prevalent. For example, individuals may verbally tell others that
an idea is “mine and not yours,” before soliciting feedback so as to
ensure that their intellectual property is protected and remains
honored (Webster et al., 2008). Although seeking others’ feedback
may be key in enhancing one’s creativity, those types of requests
are likely to be accompanied by marking signals. The question
then is, how might territorial marking affect the creativity and
motivation of those sought out for feedback?
The goal of the present examination is to provide an answer to
this question. In our first study, we examine whether being asked
to provide feedback on someone else’s ideas stifles the feedback
giver’s creativity when these ideas are clearly marked as someone
else’s territory. Building on the work by Unsworth (2001),we
refer to this type of creativity as invited creativityoffering cre-
ative ideas to a specified problem when such input is solicited.
Thus, invited creativity is neither completely mandatory (respon-
sive creativity) nor entirely voluntary (contributory creativity) but
falls in between these two endpoints of the engagement continuum
(see Unsworth, 2001). In addition to testing whether territorial
marking impedes invited creativity, we also examine the extent to
which intrinsic motivation—a principal driver of creativity
(Amabile, 1996)—mediates this effect. Finally, in our second
study we explore the extent to which self-construal—peoples’
views of themselves as independent or interdependent (Markus &
Kitayama, 1991)—moderates this effect. Specifically, we show
that control-oriented marking only inhibits the creativity of those
with an independent self-construal but serves to enhance the cre-
ativity of those with an interdependent self-construal.
Our work creates value in at least three ways. First, we extend
previous theoretical and empirical work on territoriality in orga-
nizations (Altman, 1975;Brown & Robinson, 2011) by demon-
strating how communicating that something has been claimed can
negatively impact others—their motivation and creativity—and
not just the self. While previous research has highlighted how
displaying territorial behaviors may affect the territorial marker
him- or herself (e.g., commitment, performance, isolation; Brown
et al., 2005), our focus is on the interpersonal ripple effects of
marking on others. Our second contribution is that we specify,
both theoretically and empirically, the mediating mechanism—
intrinsic motivation—that transmits the effect of control-oriented
marking on others’ creativity. Third, by integrating work on ter-
ritoriality with the literature on independent versus interdependent
self-construal we establish one theoretically important boundary
condition of this effect. In doing so, we highlight that territorial
marking is a powerful force that can derail invited creativity,
particularly in organizations that foster an independent mind-set.
Previous work (e.g., Hargadon & Bechky, 2006) has speculated
that territorial behaviors may undermine creativity and our study is
the first to empirically substantiate this effect and to clarify the
conditions under which it is most likely to occur.
Communicating Ownership Claims:
Control-Oriented Marking
Pierce and colleagues (Pierce, Kostova, & Dirks, 2001,2003;
Pierce, Jussila, & Cummings, 2009;Pierce, O’Driscoll, &
Coghlan, 2004;Van Dyne & Pierce, 2004) define psychological
ownership as a feeling of possessiveness over an object and the
sense of being psychologically tied to an object. Psychological
ownership reflects a relationship between a person and an object in
which the object of ownership is experienced as being closely
connected to the self; that is, as part of the extended self (e.g.,
James, 1890). As Isaacs (1933) declared, “what is mine becomes
(in my feelings) a part of ME” (p. 225). In essence, psychological
ownership provides the answer to the question, What do I feel is
mine? (Furby, 1978,1980).
Whereas ownership describes the sense of being psychologi-
cally tied to an object (“I feel like this is my idea”), territoriality
captures the social and behavioral dynamics that these feelings of
possessiveness produce (e.g., “Because this is my idea, I have
marked it to make sure that no one infringes upon it”). Thus, in
contrast to ownership, which describes a psychological state, ter-
ritoriality refers to “actions or behaviors that often emanate from
psychological ownership for the purpose of constructing, commu-
nicating, maintaining, and restoring one’s attachment to an object”
(Brown et al., 2005, p. 579). An object that one feels ownership of
only becomes a territory when people claim and protect the object
vis-a
`-vis others in a social context. In essence, territories are social
constructions that only come into being when people attempt to
construct, communicate, reinforce, or restore their ownership of an
object in a public sphere (Brown, 1987;Brown et al., 2005).
Marking captures those territorial behaviors that allow people to
construct and communicate to others their ownership of an object.
Particularly when it comes to intangible objects, such as ideas,
people will often use marking to communicate and highlight that
an object has been claimed (Graham & Cooper, 2013). Thus,
markers, such as using a copyright sign when communicating an
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1786 BROWN AND BAER
idea or making public pronouncements of one’s idea to ensure that
everyone knows to whom it belongs, serve to communicate own-
ership of an object so as to discourage others from accessing,
using, or infringing upon one’s possessions. Brown et al. (2005)
and others (e.g., Altman, 1975;Becker & Mayo, 1971;Smith,
1983) refer to efforts to mark an object with symbols that com-
municate the boundaries of a territory and who has psychological
ownership of it as control-oriented marking.
Control-oriented marking serves several valuable functions. En-
gaging in marking increases the experience of control over one’s
environment, which has positive implications for a number of
important outcomes, such as job satisfaction (Barnes, 1980;
Becker, 1990). In addition, marking may fulfill the need to have a
sense of place which, in turn, increases commitment and connect-
edness to the object and the environment within which the object
is located (Brown, Brown, & Perkins, 2004). Finally, the commu-
nication of ownership through control-oriented marking can also
facilitate task accomplishment and social cohesion (Altman &
Haythorn, 1967;Altman, Taylor, & Wheeler, 1971), as well as
enhance group identity (Suttles, 1968) and smooth functioning
within social units (Rosenblatt & Budd, 1975).
Although marking one’s possessions in an effort to communi-
cate who has ownership of them has several benefits, these benefits
are more likely to accrue in situations in which work is largely
independent. However, when task accomplishment benefits from
the synthesis of efforts by multiple individuals, such as in the case
of creativity (regardless of whether creativity is conceptualized as
an individual or collective phenomenon), territorial marking may
carry some costs. Specifically, given that signaling that an object
is “mine” and “not yours” deters and discourages others from
accessing and using the object, control-oriented marking should
limit others’ engagement in the task at hand, thereby constricting
their creativity.
Effects of Control-Oriented Marking on Others’
Invited Creativity
Control-oriented marking serves to communicate that a territory
has been claimed so as to discourage access, usage, and infringe-
ment attempts by others (Brown et al., 2005). Signaling that future
access to or usage of the focal object is restricted likely under-
mines the intrinsic motivation of the feedback provider, which
should then constrain the creativity of the comments and ideas
being offered. We define intrinsic motivation as “the desire to
expend effort based on interest in and enjoyment of the work that
is being performed” (Grant & Berry, 2011, p. 74).
According to cognitive evaluation theory (CET; Deci & Ryan,
1985), intrinsic motivation flourishes and will be expressed to its
fullest extent when a task activity allows for the emergence of
feelings of competence and a sense of autonomy (Ryan & Deci,
2000). While control-oriented marking may not undermine the
development of feelings of competence, signaling that future ac-
cess to or usage of an object will be restricted likely squelches
people’s sense of autonomy. Despite being able to contribute to the
focal object, the feedback giver is explicitly denied any future
rights to exercise control over the object and is relieved of any
future responsibility for it. As a result, the development of feelings
of self-determination should be limited. Thus, based on CET we
can argue that control-oriented marking by the feedback seeker is
likely to squelch the sense of autonomy experienced by the pro-
spective feedback giver, thereby undermining his or her intrinsic
motivation.
Intrinsic motivation, in turn, has been hailed as one of, if not the
main driver of creativity (Amabile, 1996;Shalley, Zhou, & Old-
ham, 2004). Although recent evidence suggests that the link be-
tween intrinsic motivation and creativity may be more complex
than initially assumed, at least when it comes to the novelty
component of creativity, intrinsic motivation seems to be indis-
pensable (e.g., Grant & Berry, 2011). Intrinsic motivation is be-
lieved to boost creativity by increasing curiosity, cognitive flexi-
bility, risk taking, and persistence (e.g., Shalley et al., 2004). When
people are intrinsically motivated they consider a wider range of
alternatives, they are willing to remain cognitively flexible and to
entertain ideas that clearly deviate from the status quo, and they are
more likely to persist in their efforts—all of which enhance the
creativity of the ideas generated (Grant & Berry, 2011;Zhou &
Shalley, 2003).
Together, then, the above arguments suggest that to the extent
that control-oriented marking reduces others’ intrinsic motivation,
such marking results in reduced invited creativity.
Hypothesis 1: There will be a negative effect of control-
oriented marking on invited creativity, and this effect will be
mediated by intrinsic motivation.
Recently, Grant and Berry (2011) argued that intrinsic motiva-
tion is more likely to impact the novelty component of creativity as
opposed to the usefulness aspect of it. Reviewing the often con-
flicting empirical findings regarding the relation between intrinsic
motivation and creativity, these authors suggested that the desire
for challenge and exploration associated with intrinsic motivation
would encourage individuals to focus their energies and efforts
primarily on ideas that are novel and unique and to a lesser extent
on ideas that are potentially useful. However, because they did not
measure novelty and usefulness separately, their two studies only
provided indirect evidence for their arguments. To test their logic
more directly, we measured creativity as a multiplicative function
of novelty and usefulness, which we assessed separately. Specif-
ically, we explored the possibility that the effect of control-
oriented marking via intrinsic motivation on the novelty compo-
nent of creativity would be stronger than the effect on the
usefulness component.
Study 1
Method
Participants. Participants were 230 undergraduate students
from a large university in Singapore who received extra credit
points in exchange for their time. The sample was 55% female,
with a mean age of 21.26 years (SD 1.58). Participants were
randomly and equally assigned to the two experimental conditions.
Procedure and materials. Upon their arrival, participants
were asked to complete a questionnaire assessing their demo-
graphic information. They were then instructed to assume the role
of a member of a virtual team charged with the development of a
promotion strategy for a new restaurant. As a team member, they
were given a one-page written overview of the proposal guidelines.
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1787
PROTECTING THE TURF
Participants were also told that they would receive an initial
strategy proposal that had been developed by one of their col-
leagues—in reality, this was a research assistant who delivered a
previously prepared proposal (after the experiment, participants
reported that they believed that the proposal was sent by another
member of the team and not by the experimenter). In addition,
participants were informed that they would be able to review and
comment on the proposal prior to the final submission to the client,
if they chose to do so. Thus, providing creative suggestions for the
refinement of the proposal was optional and participation credit
was awarded irrespective of the quantity or quality of comments
provided.
Following this general introduction, the experimenter handed
each participant the same written instructions. After completing
the demographic questionnaire and setting up their laptop comput-
ers, the confederate then sent an e-mail (see Manipulation of
Control-Oriented Marking) to each participant along with the
proposal. Participants were given 30 minutes to prepare their
comments, which could range from simple suggestions regarding
the organization of the proposal to creative (i.e., novel, useful)
ideas for how to improve it before its final delivery to the client.
In the instructions to participants, we again made explicit that
providing feedback was optional and offering no feedback at all
was acceptable. After sending an e-mail with their comments and
suggestions back to their colleague (i.e., the confederate), partic-
ipants completed a final questionnaire and were debriefed and
dismissed.
Manipulation of control-oriented marking. Consistent with
the definition of control-oriented marking (Brown et al., 2005),
participants in the marking condition were presented with linguis-
tic cues communicating the boundary of the proposal and estab-
lishing its ownership. Specifically, after reading the message “I
need to send out the attached proposal by the end of the business
day, so if you could provide me your comments and suggestions
within the next 30 minutes, I would really appreciate it,” which
was identical in both the marking and no marking conditions,
participants in the control-oriented marking condition were pre-
sented with the following additional message: “Just to be clear,
although I am asking you for your input, I consider this to be my
proposal, not yours.” In the no marking condition, no such mes-
sage was included. In addition, the e-mail subject line in the
control-oriented marking condition read “My proposal” whereas in
the no marking condition it read “The proposal.” Apart from these
two differences, the messages and proposals delivered to partici-
pants were identical.
Measures.
Creativity. We developed our measure of creativity following
a two-step procedure (Baer, Leenders, Oldham, & Vadera, 2010).
In the first step, two external coders (i.e., undergraduate research
assistants) underwent training conducted by one of the authors.
Consistent with previous research (Amabile, 1996), we defined
creativity as ideas that are both novel and potentially useful. After
being presented with this definition, the two coders were instructed
to individually rate the ideas of about 50 participants (randomly
selected) on both dimensions using scales ranging from 1 not at
all novel to 7 extremely novel and from 1 not at all useful to
7extremely useful. Before we instructed each of the two coders
to independently evaluate their portion of the remaining ideas
(each coder evaluated 50% of the remaining ideas as the number of
participants was too great to have one single person rate all ideas),
we established interrater reliability. Specifically, we calculated
two intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC[2,1] & ICC[2,k];
Shrout & Fleiss, 1979;McGraw & Wong, 1996).
1
Both coeffi-
cients were high—ICC[2,1] .94 (novelty) and .96 (usefulness);
ICC[2,2] .97 (novelty) and .98 (usefulness)—suggesting ade-
quate levels of reliability (Bliese, 2000;LeBreton & Senter, 2008)
and justifying the use of both judges as independent sources for
our creativity ratings.
Consistent with the definition of creativity as referring to ideas
that are both novel and useful, we constructed our measure of
creativity by multiplying the novelty and usefulness values for
each idea and then averaging these scores across all ideas for each
participant (e.g., Hoever, Van Knippenberg, Van Ginkel, &
Barkema, 2012). Although we could have instructed coders to
directly rate the creativity of each idea, some recent research
suggests that the dimensions of novelty and usefulness are not
always aligned and sometimes even negatively related (Beersma &
De Dreu, 2005;Rietzschel, Nijstad & Stroebe, 2006). To ensure
that our measure reflected both the novelty and usefulness dimen-
sions, not just one or the other primarily, we chose to construct our
creativity measure by multiplying the two component scores.
Intrinsic motivation. This was measured with four items de-
rived from those suggested by Grant (2008): “I would describe this
task as pretty interesting”; “This task was fun to do”; “I thought
this was an interesting task”; and “I had good concentration.”
Participants were asked to rate the items on a scale ranging from
1strongly disagree to 7 strongly agree. We averaged the
items to form a scale (␣⫽.86).
Manipulation check. Participants responded to three ques-
tions modeled after those developed by Brown (2009): “The per-
son who sent me the proposal feels like this proposal is only
theirs”; “The person who sent me the proposal indicated that the
proposal is not mine”; “The person who sent me the proposal
claimed this proposal as their own.” Participants were asked to rate
the items on a scale ranging from 1 strongly disagree to7
strongly agree. We averaged the items to form a scale (␣⫽.88).
Results
Participants in the control-oriented marking condition reported
significantly higher levels of perceived territorial claiming (M
5.87, SD 1.23) than participants in the no marking condition
(M3.67, SD 1.52), t(228) 12.09, p.001, d1.59. Our
manipulation was thus successful.
Table 1 presents the means, standard deviations, and intercor-
relations among the study variables. There was a positive correla-
tion between the novelty and usefulness dimensions of creativity,
r.57, p.001, suggesting that ideas that were perceived as
more novel also were perceived to offer more potential value.
Providing initial support for our mediating hypothesis, there was a
negative correlation between control-oriented marking and both
1
Following Shrout and Fleiss (1979), the first number in each bracket
indicates whether the ICC is based on a one-way (1) or two-way (2)
ANOVA. We used a two-way ANOVA since each target was rated by the
same set of k judges, randomly selected from a larger population of judges.
The second number in each bracket indicates whether the unit of analysis
is an individual rating (1) or the mean of multiple ratings (k).
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1788 BROWN AND BAER
intrinsic motivation, r–.20, p.01 and invited creativity (r
–.18 p.01). In addition, intrinsic motivation was positively
correlated with creativity, r.18, p.01, as well as with its
subdimensions of novelty, r.15, p.05 and usefulness, r
.20, p.01.
Providing initial support for Hypothesis 1, participants who
received the message indicating that the proposal was claimed
reported lower levels of intrinsic motivation (M4.93, SD
1.12) than participants in the no marking condition (M5.35,
SD 0.96), t(228) 3.02, p.01, d0.40. In addition,
participants in the marking condition produced ideas that were less
creative (M10.39, SD 5.55) than the ideas of participants in
the no marking condition (M13.06, SD 9.06), t(228) 2.69,
p.01, d0.35. A similar difference was observed for idea
novelty—participants in the control-oriented marking condition
generated ideas that were less novel (M2.32, SD 0.83) than
the ideas of participants in the no marking condition (M2.63,
SD 1.24), t(228) 2.26, p.05, d0.29. However, the
usefulness of the ideas generated by participants in the control-
oriented marking condition (M3.80, SD 1.37) was not
significantly different from the usefulness of the ideas produced by
participants in the no marking condition (M4.04, SD 1.50),
t(228) 1.27, p.05, d0.17.
To test the extent to which intrinsic motivation mediates the
effect of control-oriented marking on invited creativity, we used
the bootstrapping approach outlined by Hayes (2013). Based on
bootstrapping 5,000 resamples, we estimated the direct and indi-
rect effects of control-oriented making via intrinsic motivation on
invited creativity. As can be seen in Figure 1, control-oriented
marking had a significant negative effect on intrinsic motivation
(b–.41, p.01), which in turn boosted creativity (b1.12,
p.05). In addition, control-oriented marking exerted a direct and
negative effect on invited creativity (b⫽⫺2.20, p.05), con-
trolling for the effect of intrinsic motivation.
The indirect effect of control oriented marking via intrinsic
motivation on creativity was significant at p.05 (b–.46, 95%
CI [1.11, –.11]), as zero was not in the 95% confidence interval.
The indirect effect through intrinsic motivation accounted for 17%
of the total effect of territorial marking on creativity (b⫽⫺2.66,
95% CI [4.63, –.70])—a significant portion (b.17, 95% CI
[.03, .74]). However, because the direct effect of control-oriented
marking on creativity remained statistically significant after con-
trolling for the indirect effect through intrinsic motivation, intrinsic
motivation only partially mediated the effect of territorial marking
on creativity. Thus, Hypothesis 1 was partly supported.
2
Addi-
tional analysis revealed significant indirect effects of control-
oriented marking via intrinsic motivation on both the novelty (b
–.05, 95% CI [–.14, –.004]) and usefulness (b–.11, 95% CI
[–.24, –.03]) dimensions of creativity. Thus, to the extent that
marking inhibits others’ intrinsic motivation, both novelty and
usefulness of the ideas suffer.
Discussion
The purpose of our first study was to examine the effect of
control-oriented marking on others’ invited creativity, with intrin-
sic motivation as the mechanism transmitting this effect. Providing
general support for our hypotheses, the results of Study 1 suggest
that feedback requests accompanied by a message that signals that
the focal object—in this case a proposal—has been claimed neg-
atively impacts the feedback provider’s invited creativity. Addi-
tional analysis of the subdimensions of creativity revealed that
2
Given our theoretical focus, in a previous version of the manuscript we
examined the possibility that control-oriented marking would diminish
intrinsic motivation by first reducing individuals’ psychological ownership
of the proposal. To test whether psychological ownership and intrinsic
motivation would sequentially mediate the effects of control-oriented
marking on invited creativity, we estimated the direct and indirect effects
of control-oriented making via psychological ownership and intrinsic mo-
tivation on creativity. Control-oriented marking had a marginally signifi-
cant negative effect on psychological ownership (b–.34, p.056),
which in turn positively affected intrinsic motivation (b.15, p.01),
which ultimately boosted creativity (b1.02, p.05). However, the
indirect effect of marking on creativity through psychological ownership
first and intrinsic motivation second did not reach statistical significance
(b–.05, 95% CI [–.17, .00])—only the indirect effect through intrinsic
motivation alone did (b–.37, 95% CI [–.88, –.02]). These results
suggested that intrinsic motivation appears to be the central mediating
mechanism transmitting the effect of control-oriented marking on invited
creativity.
Table 1
Descriptive Statistics and Intercorrelations, Study 1
MSD 12345
1. Creativity 11.72 7.62
2. Novelty 2.47 1.06 .93
ⴱⴱⴱ
3. Usefulness 3.92 1.44 .79
ⴱⴱⴱ
.57
ⴱⴱⴱ
4. Intrinsic motivation 5.14 1.06 .18
ⴱⴱ
.15
.20
ⴱⴱ
5. Control-oriented marking .18
ⴱⴱ
.15
.08 .20
ⴱⴱ
Note.N230.
p.05.
ⴱⴱ
p.01.
ⴱⴱⴱ
p.001; all tests two-tailed.
Control-Oriented
Marking
Intrinsic
Motivation
Creativity
–.41**
(.14)
1.12*
(.44)
–2.20*
(.99)
Figure 1. Summary of mediation effects, Study 1. The direct path of
control-oriented marking to creativity displays the coefficient when intrin-
sic motivation is controlled for. Standard errors in parentheses.
p.05.
ⴱⴱ
p.01. all tests two-tailed.
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1789
PROTECTING THE TURF
control-oriented marking reduced the novelty of the ideas that the
feedback giver provided but not the usefulness of these ideas. One
reason for this may be that control-oriented marking causes people
not to propose truly novel ideas—out of concern that those ideas
are neither welcomed nor appreciated—and to focus on more
mundane, easily implementable comments and suggestions. As a
result, novelty may suffer but usefulness remains largely unaf-
fected. However, the indirect effect of marking on creativity was
significant for both subdimensions of creativity—to the extent that
control-oriented marking undermines the feedback giver’s intrinsic
motivation, both idea novelty and usefulness suffer. Overall, the
results of our first study confirm the importance of intrinsic mo-
tivation for both idea novelty and usefulness—contrary to recent
claims that intrinsic motivation only impacts idea novelty (Grant &
Berry, 2011)—and highlight the pernicious effect of territorial
behavior on others’ creativity in the context of feedback seeking
and giving. The results of Study 1 are the first to demonstrate the
potential costs associated with exhibiting certain territorial behav-
iors and provide an important counterpoint to existing work, which
has largely highlighted the functional role of territoriality in orga-
nizations.
From Study 1 it is not clear, however, whether there may be
differences between individuals in how they respond to the com-
munication of a territorial claim by the feedback seeker. Our
assumption so far has been that control-oriented marking serves to
universally stifle others’ intrinsic motivation and, as a result,
invited creativity. The purpose of our second study was to chal-
lenge this assumption and delineate one boundary condition of the
effect demonstrated in Study 1. In doing so, we integrate previous
research that has highlighted the importance of independent versus
interdependent self-construal—one of several dimensions that dis-
tinguish individualistic and collectivistic cultures (Cross, Hardin,
& Gercek-Swing, 2011;Triandis, 1995)—for understanding cre-
ativity in social contexts (e.g., Bechtoldt, Choi, & Nijstad, 2012;
Goncalo & Staw, 2006). Previous research on independent versus
interdependent self-construal supplements the work on territorial-
ity that has guided our thinking up to this point. Integrating both
streams of inquiry, we examine the possibility that self-construal
moderates the negative effect of control-oriented marking on in-
trinsic motivation thereby affecting invited creativity. We suggest
that a feedback request accompanied by a territorial claim undermines
intrinsic motivation only among individuals with an independent self-
construal. In contrast, among people with an interdependent self-
construal, we expect the negative effect of control-oriented mark-
ing on intrinsic motivation to be reversed, resulting in elevated
levels of motivation and subsequent creativity.
In addition to examining the boundary condition of the effect
demonstrated in Study 1, in Study 2 we address a limitation of our
first study. Specifically, in Study 1 we assessed our mediating
variable—intrinsic motivation—after participants had submitted
their feedback, which may raise questions of reverse causality. It is
possible that to the extent that participants were able to gauge the
quality of the feedback they provided, this may have affected their
intrinsic motivation (i.e., participants’ feelings of competence
would have been altered, which could have direct implications for
the level of intrinsic motivation they reported). Although we did
not offer participants any feedback regarding the quality of their
comments, it may nevertheless be possible that they evaluated
their own performance absent any external information. To
address this limitation, in Study 2 we administered our measure
of intrinsic motivation after participants had received the feed-
back request from the other team member but before they
opened the proposal and composed their feedback. If the results
of Study 2 confirm the importance of intrinsic motivation as a
mediating variable, this would indicate that measuring motiva-
tion after the performance episode did not impact the findings
of Study 1.
Study 2
Among the many ways in which cultural differences can be
conceptualized (e.g., Hofstede, 1980), the individualism–
collectivism dimension has received considerable attention by
scholars interested in the effects of culture on creativity (e.g.,
Bechtoldt et al., 2012;Goncalo & Staw, 2006). Individualism and
collectivism are fundamental differences in the way relationships
between individuals and the social context are construed and
whether the individual or the group is considered to be the relevant
unit of analysis (e.g., Oyserman & Lee, 2008). One particular
psychological outcome that is shaped by this cultural dimension is
people’s self-construal (e.g., Markus & Kitayama, 1991;Triandis,
1995). People with an independent self-construal see themselves as
different from others and tend to emphasize characteristics that
separate them from others. In contrast, those with an interdepen-
dent self-construal see themselves as connected to others and tend
to emphasize those characteristics that they share with others (e.g.,
Cross et al., 2011;Oyserman, Coon, & Kemmelmeier, 2002;
Oyserman & Lee, 2008).
Do individuals who see themselves as unique and disconnected
from others respond differently to the absence/presence of a ter-
ritorial claim than those who see themselves as similar and con-
nected to others? Based on previous work (e.g., Markus & Ki-
tayama, 1991), we suggest that the effect of control-oriented
marking on intrinsic motivation and invited creativity should be
negative only for those with an independent view of the self; for
those with an interdependent self-construal, the effect of marking
may be positive.
As pointed out by Markus and Kitayama (1991, p. 240), indi-
viduals with independent selves experience agency—a person’s
sense of control—differently from those with an interdependent
self-construal. For people with independent selves, agency is ex-
perienced as an opportunity to express one’s internal preferences
and dispositions in the service of establishing and demonstrating
one’s uniqueness. In contrast, for those with an interdependent
self-construal, agency is experienced as an effort to adjust and
restrain one’s preferences and dispositions in the service of estab-
lishing and demonstrating one’s connectedness within the envi-
ronment. Thus, although people with independent and interdepen-
dent selves both experience a sense of agency in the pursuit of their
goals, these goals differ depending upon one’s self-construal
(Cross et al., 2011).
The control-oriented marking message signals that personal
control over the proposal and future responsibility for it are
restricted. People with independent selves should experience
this restriction in personal agency as a limit to their ability to
express themselves freely and to establish their uniqueness. In
the absence of a territorial claim, independent individuals are
likely to experience elevated levels of task interest and enjoy-
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1790 BROWN AND BAER
ment from the ability to express themselves freely and in
accordance with their preferences and dispositions. A territorial
claim, however, restricts their ability to express their unique
self, thus undermining their enjoyment of the task and, ulti-
mately, their creativity. Accordingly, to the extent that control-
oriented marking signals that personal control and future re-
sponsibility for the object are limited, individuals with an
independent self-construal should respond to the marking mes-
sage with reduced intrinsic motivation and creativity.
People with an interdependent self-construal, on the other
hand, are expected to respond differently to the marking mes-
sage. Such individuals tend to experience agency as an effort to
be receptive to others and to adjust their preferences and
dispositions in order to establish their connectedness. However,
in the context of providing creative feedback, achieving this
goal of connectedness might be challenging. Providing creative
feedback entails offering ideas that differ from those developed
by the other person. Thus, providing creative feedback, by its
very nature, runs counter to the goal of being receptive to others
and of adjusting and restraining oneself. In fact, the opportunity
to exercise personal control could be threatening to those with
an interdependent self-construal (Iyengar & Lepper, 1999,p.
350), as they may fear that their comments and suggestions
could be at odds with the ideas of the feedback seeker. This, in
turn, would jeopardize their ability to fully realize their con-
nectedness with the other person. According to this logic, task
enjoyment and subsequent creativity may be relatively lower
for interdependent individuals in the absence of a marking
message. When the feedback request is accompanied by a
territorial claim, however, we expect intrinsic motivation and
creativity to increase. The control-oriented marking message
highlights that control over and future responsibility for the
proposal are limited thereby signaling that the fate of the
feedback seeker and provider are less intertwined going for-
ward. This may alleviate concerns among interdependent indi-
viduals of potentially frustrating the goal of establishing con-
nectedness by suggesting comments that are at odds with the
ideas of the other person. The opportunity to express oneself in
a way that is no longer constrained by the fear of upsetting the
goal of belongingness, in turn, may enhance the task enjoyment
and creativity of interdependent individuals when presented
with a control-oriented marking message.
Although previous work has not yet tested these ideas, a recent
study by Bechtoldt and colleagues (2012) provides tentative evi-
dence for the validity of our arguments. These authors examined
the joint impact of self-construal and value orientation on group
creativity. Value orientation captures the degree to which individ-
uals pursue their own interests versus the group’s interest. To the
extent that control-oriented marking signals that the other party is
pursuing their own agenda (saying “this is mine” may also signal,
“I am in it for myself”), this study could be informative. Results
revealed that groups composed of members with independent
selves were more creative when members pursued the group’s
interest (equivalent to our no marking condition) rather than their
own interests. However, this pattern was reversed for groups
composed of members with interdependent selves—creativity was
higher when members pursued their own interests (equivalent to
our marking condition) rather than the interest of the group. These
findings are consistent with the logic we outlined—marking will
reduce the intrinsic motivation and creativity of those with an
independent self-construal but will enhance the motivation and
creativity of people with interdependent selves. Based on this
evidence and on the arguments provided above, we thus hypoth-
esize:
Hypothesis 2: The interactive effect of control-oriented mark-
ing and self-construal on invited creativity will be mediated by
intrinsic motivation; control-oriented marking will decrease
intrinsic motivation and subsequent creativity for those with
an independent self-construal but will increase intrinsic moti-
vation and subsequent creativity for those with an interdepen-
dent self-construal.
Consistent with previous work (e.g., Bechtoldt et al., 2012;
Goncalo & Staw, 2006), we elected to prime independent–
interdependent self-construal rather than to examine people from
different cultural backgrounds. The benefit of priming self-
construal is that it allows for the study of the impact of culture by
temporarily making accessible or salient certain cultural aspects
(e.g., self-concept, values, etc.) without inviting the myriad of
factors that may covary with national or organizational differences
in individualism–collectivism (e.g., Oyserman & Lee, 2008). As
previous work by Gardner, Gabriel, and Lee (1999) has shown,
priming independent–interdependent self-construal within the
same culture produces differences in psychological worldview that
are equivalent to those typically found between cultures. One
explanation for this finding is that members of different cultures
can adopt both kinds of self-construal, and can do so to varying
degrees depending upon situational cues (e.g., Brewer & Gardner,
1996;Trafimow, Triandis, & Goto, 1991). Thus, although culture
may exert a strong influence on the self-construal that is chroni-
cally salient, situational cues can temporarily shift a person’s
self-construal producing similar effects as one would observe by
studying differences between cultures (e.g., Oyserman & Lee,
2008).
Method
Design and participants. We tested Hypothesis 2 in a labo-
ratory experiment using a 2 (control-oriented marking: marking vs.
no marking) 2 (self-construal: independent vs. interdependent)
between-subjects design. Participants were 88 undergraduate stu-
dents from a large university in British Columbia who received
extra credit points in exchange for their time. The sample consisted
of 67% women with a mean age of 21.01 years (SD 3.48).
Participants were randomly and equally assigned to the four ex-
perimental conditions.
Procedure and materials. The procedure was identical to
Study 1 with two important exceptions. After completing the
demographic questionnaire and setting up their laptop computers,
but before the confederate sent the e-mail, participants responded
to a series of questions designed to manipulate independent versus
interdependent self-construal (see Manipulation of Independent vs.
Interdependent Self-Construal). In addition, we measured intrinsic
motivation after participants had received the e-mail but prior to
composing their feedback.
Manipulation of independent versus interdependent
self-construal. We closely followed the procedure described by
Goncalo and Staw (2006; see also Bechtoldt et al., 2012 for use of
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1791
PROTECTING THE TURF
the same procedure). Rather than selecting individuals based on
their independent versus interdependent self-construal, we primed
this variable by asking participants to describe themselves in
relation to others thereby providing opportunities for participants
to generate logics that reflected one of the two types of self-
construal. Specifically, participants in the independent self-
construal condition were asked to complete three statements de-
scribing why they thought they were not like most other people
and three statements providing their rationale for why it would
be advantageous to “stand out” from other people. Participants
in the interdependent self-construal condition were asked to
complete three statements describing why they thought they
were just like most other people and three statements providing
their rationale for why it would be advantageous to “blend in”
with other people.
Measures.
Creativity. We again used a two-step procedure to derive our
dependent variable. However, unlike in Study 1, the two external
raters (after undergoing training conducted by one of the authors)
individually rated all of the ideas generated by all participants
rather than only 50% of all ideas. As in Study 1, the two coders
were instructed to rate the ideas on both dimensions of creativity.
To evaluate whether aggregation across raters was justified, we
estimated interraterreliability. Both intraclass correlation coeffi-
cients were high— ICC[2,1] .61 (novelty) and .72 (useful-
ness); ICC[2,2] .76 (novelty) and .84 (usefulness)—suggest-
ing adequate levels of reliability and justifying aggregation of
scores across raters. Using these aggregated scores, in Step 2 we
constructed our measure of creativity by again averaging and
multiplying the novelty and usefulness values for each partic-
ipant.
Intrinsic motivation. We used the same four items as in Study
1. Participants rated each item on a scale ranging from 1
strongly disagree to 7 strongly agree. We then averaged the
items to form a scale score (␣⫽.89).
Control-oriented marking manipulation check. Participants
responded to the same three questions as in Study 1 using a scale
ranging from 1 strongly disagree to7strongly agree.We
averaged the items to form a scale score (␣⫽.89).
Self-construal manipulation check. To evaluate the effective-
ness of our self-construal manipulation, we followed the procedure
outlined by Goncalo and Staw (2006). Specifically, one coder who
was blind to the hypotheses and the experimental conditions eval-
uated the extent to which each participant’s statements in response
to the two questions reflected either an individualistic or a collec-
tivistic orientation. The coder was given the following definition
suggested by Goncalo and Staw (2006; p. 102). “Individualism. A
set of cultural values that emphasizes individual autonomy, the
prioritization of personal goals over group goals, and the def-
inition of one’s self in terms of one’s individuality and unique-
ness from the group.” “Collectivism. A set of cultural values
that emphasize group harmony, the prioritization of collective
goals over personal goals, and the definition of one’s self in
terms of the groups one belongs to.” The statements were rated
on a scale ranging from 1 independent to3can’t tell to5
interdependent. We then averaged these scores across all of a
participant’s statements.
Results
Manipulation checks.
Control-oriented marking. A univariate analysis of variance
indicated a significant effect of our control-oriented marking ma-
nipulation on the manipulation check measure, F(1, 84) 154.58,
p.001, p
2.65. As expected, participants in the control-
oriented marking condition reported significantly higher levels of
perceived territorial claiming (M6.33, SD 0.96) than partic-
ipants in the no marking condition (M3.21, SD 1.33), t(86)
12.56, p.001, d1.59. There was no significant effect of the
self-construal manipulation on perceived claiming, F(1, 84) .26,
p.05, p
2.00. The effect of the interaction between our two
experimental manipulations on perceived claiming was also non-
significant, F(1, 84) .02, p.05, p
2.00. These results
suggest that our control-oriented marking manipulation was suc-
cessful.
Self-construal. Results of a univariate analysis of variance
revealed a significant effect of the self-construal manipulation on
our manipulation check measure, F(1, 84) 328.89, p.001. As
expected, participants in the independent self-construal condition
produced statements that were rated as significantly less interde-
pendent (M2.20, SD 0.55) than participants in the interde-
pendent self-construal condition (M4.05, SD 0.38), t(86)
18.28, p.001, d3.90. There was no significant effect of the
control-oriented marking manipulation on this manipulation
check variable, F(1, 84) .08, p.05, p
2.00. The effect of
the interaction between our two experimental manipulations
was also nonsignificant, F(1, 84) .59, p.05, p
2.01.
These results suggest that our self-construal manipulation was
successful.
Test of hypotheses. Providing initial support for Hypothesis
2, results of a univariate analysis of variance revealed a significant
interaction between territorial marking and self-construal on in-
trinsic motivation, F(1, 84) 5.51, p.05, p
2.06. The main
effects for both marking, F(1, 84) 0.36, p.05, p
2.00 and
self-construal, F(1, 84) 0.70, p.05, p
2.01 were not
significant. Participants with an independent self-construal re-
ported higher levels of intrinsic motivation in the no marking
condition (M4.92, SD 1.05) as compared to the marking
condition (M4.51, SD 1.07), albeit this difference was not
significant, t(42) 1.28, p.05, d0.39. Conversely,
participants with an interdependent self-construal reported sig-
nificantly higher levels of intrinsic motivation in the marking
condition (M5.26, SD 1.15) as compared the no marking
condition (M4.57, SD 1.12), t(42) 2.02, p.05, d
0.61.
Consistent with Hypothesis 2, results of a univariate analysis of
variance revealed a significant interaction between territorial
marking and self-construal on creativity, F(1, 84) 11.78, p
.01, p
2.12. The main effects for both marking, F(1, 84) 0.22,
p.05, p
2.00 and self-construal, F(1, 84) 0.45, p.05,
p
2.01 were not significant. As expected, participants with an
independent self-construal were significantly more creative in
the no marking condition (M14.24, SD 4.50) as compared
to those who received the message indicating that the proposal
was already claimed (M10.09, SD 5.29), t(42) 2.80, p
.01, d0.84. Conversely, participants with an interdependent
self-construal were significantly more creative in the marking
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1792 BROWN AND BAER
condition (M14.45, SD 5.94) as compared to participants
in the no marking condition (M11.30, SD 3.98), t(42)
2.06, p.05, d0.62. The interaction is displayed in Figure
2.
3,4
To test Hypothesis 2 that intrinsic motivation mediates the
interactive effect of control-oriented marking and self-construal on
creativity, such that self-construal moderates the effect of control-
oriented marking on intrinsic motivation, which in turn has a
positive effect on creativity, we used a path analysis-based model
for moderated mediation (Hayes, 2013). Consistent with our the-
oretical arguments, we tested a model that allowed for moderation
of the direct effect and the first stage (from control-oriented
marking to intrinsic motivation), but not of the second stage (from
intrinsic motivation to creativity; direct effect and first stage mod-
eration model; Edwards & Lambert, 2007). As before, results
revealed a significant interaction between marking and self-
construal on intrinsic motivation (b1.10, p.05). In addition,
when regressing creativity on control-oriented marking, self-
construal, their interaction, and motivation, the effect of intrinsic
motivation was statistically significant (b1.13, p.05). Fi-
nally, based on bootstrapping 5,000 resamples we estimated the
indirect effect of the interaction between control-oriented marking
and self-construal on creativity via intrinsic motivation. This in-
direct effect was significant at p.05 (b1.24, 95% CI [0.11,
3.29]), as zero was not in the 95% confidence interval. However,
when controlling for motivation, the direct effect of the interaction
between marking and self-construal on creativity (b6.06, p
.01) remained statistically significant, suggesting that intrinsic
motivation is a partial mediator. Thus, Hypothesis 2 was only
partially supported.
Discussion
The purpose of Study 2 was to refine our earlier thinking by
identifying a potential boundary condition: self-construal of the
feedback giver. Providing general support for our hypothesis, the
results of Study 2 suggest that feedback requests accompanied by
a territorial claim negatively impact intrinsic motivation and in-
vited creativity of participants with an independent self-construal,
but enhance intrinsic motivation and creativity of those with an
interdependent self-construal. As in Study 1, intrinsic motivation
partially mediated the effect of control-oriented marking (and
self-construal) on invited creativity.
The results of our second study complement the findings of
Study 1. The negative effect of control-oriented marking on others’
invited creativity seems to be bound by one particular aspect that
distinguishes individualistic from collectivistic cultures—people’s
self-construal as independent versus interdependent. Specifically,
control-oriented marking only undermines the creativity of those
with an independent self-construal. In contrast, interdependent
individuals benefit creatively from the marking message in that it
alleviates them from their obligation to establish and demonstrate
their belongingness with the other person. Thus, control-oriented
marking is not universally detrimental to others’ motivation and
creativity; its effect depends on how people define and make
meaning of the self.
General Discussion
By integrating the literatures on territoriality and self-construal,
we provide unique insights into the conditions that foster invited
creativity. First and foremost, our findings substantiate previous
claims suggesting that using marking to communicate a territorial
claim can have negative consequences (Brown et al., 2005), par-
ticularly in environments in which people rely on others’ inputs to
complete or enhance their work. These findings are among the first
to empirically demonstrate the dark side of territorial behavior in
organizations.
The findings of our second study however, suggest that this
effect is limited to people with an independent view of the self.
Specifically, the results of Study 2 showed that control-oriented
marking only diminished the intrinsic motivation and creativity of
independent individuals. In contrast, participants with an inter-
dependent self-construal benefited from the control-oriented
marking message. These findings illustrate the importance of
considering the cultural environment in which territorial behav-
ior unfolds, as the effect of control-oriented marking depends
on whether people embrace an independent or an interdepen-
dent view of the self.
Next, our research contributes to the literature on territoriality
by specifying a mediating pathway through which marking im-
pacts others’ creativity. However, the results of both of our studies
revealed that intrinsic motivation only served as a partial mediator.
(Additional analysis for Study 2 revealed that the conditional
indirect effect of marking via intrinsic motivation on creativity
was significant for those with an interdependent self-construal
but did not reach significance for participants with an indepen-
dent view of the self). One reason for this may be that we
operationalized intrinsic motivation principally as task enjoy-
3
Consistent with the work by Goncalo and Staw (2006), those with an
independent self-construal were more creative as compared to interdepen-
dent individuals in the no marking condition, t(42) 2.29, p.05, d
0.69. This pattern reversed, however, in the marking condition, t(42)
2.57, p.05, d0.78.
4
Additional analyses revealed significant interactions between territorial
marking and self-construal on both the novelty, F(1, 83) 6.70, p.05,
p
2.07 and usefulness dimensions, F(1, 83) 9.73, p.01, p
2.10
of creativity.
Figure 2. Interaction of control-oriented marking and self-construal on
creativity.
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1793
PROTECTING THE TURF
ment, deemphasizing effort. However, reduced control, limited
responsibility, and a lack of common fate between the feedback
seeker and provider—all of which could be signaled by the
marking message—may operate also through the effort compo-
nent of motivation. Future research should explore whether a
broader operationalization of intrinsic motivation shapes the
effects of territorial behavior.
Finally, the results of our two studies have important implica-
tions for the study of creativity. Feedback seeking and providing
have been identified as important drivers of creativity (e.g., de
Stobbeleir et al., 2011). However, previous research has focused
primarily on the effects of feedback seeking on the creativity of the
seeker, ignoring the dynamics that govern the feedback exchange.
Our results suggest that marking one’s possessions when request-
ing creative input undermines others’ intrinsic motivation and
ultimately the creativity of their ideas. In addition, our findings
suggest that the debilitating effects of marking are particularly
pronounced in environments in which people embrace a more
independent view of the self. Thus, when creativity requires the
input of others, territorial marking has the potential to under-
mine the creativity of those who otherwise may be the most
valuable source of creative input—people who see themselves
as unique and different and who, as a result, are typically more
likely to develop ideas that challenge and differ from the status
quo. Paradoxically, however, marking can enhance the creativ-
ity of those who otherwise may be constrained in their creative
output—people with an interdependent view of the self. These
results enrich our understanding of the conditions under which
feedback seeking actually produces the intended results—the
acquisition of creative input from others.
Limitations and Potential Avenues for
Future Research
Despite these contributions, our research has some limitations
that suggest fruitful directions for future research. First, our use of
a laboratory setting involving undergraduate students raises ques-
tions about the external validity of our findings. However, the
generalizability of our study is determined not by its setting but by
how well it captures the necessary dimensions of that setting
(Campbell, 1986). To this extent, we drew on examples from other
studies on territoriality to create our territoriality manipulation. For
example, Brown (2009) found that one of the most common ways
people communicate the boundaries of a territory is by telling
others that an object is theirs and not someone else’s. Although we
attempted to operationalize territoriality in ways reflective of the
real world and we used a task that was seen as realistic and
engaging, it may be possible that we did not capture all of the
necessary dimensions. Particularly, Brown (2009) observed that
people often engage in multiple marking behaviors simultane-
ously. Our study, which utilized only one form of territorial
marking, while offering a conservative test of the effects of terri-
torial marking, may thus be only partially reflective of reality.
Thus, future research is needed to investigate the generalizability
of our results beyond the laboratory context and the undergraduate
student population.
In addition to examining whether the observed findings extend
beyond the laboratory context and the student population, future
research should examine whether our findings generalize beyond
the specific type of territorial behavior studied. In this study, we
focused on control-oriented marking—marking objects to commu-
nicate the boundaries of a territory and who has psychological
ownership over it. However, other forms of territorial marking,
such as identity-oriented marking—the deliberate decoration or
modification of an object to reflect someone’s identity (e.g., Sund-
strom & Sundstrom, 1986)—may produce similar effects. Even
without any overt statement to demarcate the boundaries of one’s
territories, the simple fact that someone has put their identity into
an object may be enough to squelch others’ intrinsic motivation
and ultimately their creativity. In fact, identity-oriented marking
may be seen as a stronger claim of ownership and thus produce
effects that are more pronounced than those that we observed.
Future research is needed to examine this possibility.
Future research should also investigate the role of individual
differences in regulating the effect of marking on others’ intrinsic
motivation and creativity. Conscientious individuals have a strong
desire to achieve, are reliable and dependable, and tend to conform
to norms and rules (Costa & McCrae, 1992). Given their disposi-
tion, individuals high on conscientiousness (as compared to those
low on this dimension) may be less likely to be negatively affected
in their motivation and creativity by the territorial marking request.
Next, one contribution of our study was to examine the effect of
territorial marking on the creativity of the feedback giver. In
focusing on the feedback giver as the recipient of a message
communicating a territorial claim, we ignored the question of
whether the creative contributions of the feedback provider ulti-
mately enhance the creativity of the feedback seeker. Although
examining the effect of marking on others’ invited creativity is an
important question in its own right, naturally the value of asking
someone else for creative input is only captured when the person
seeking feedback adopts these contributions (e.g., Baer & Brown,
2012;de Stobbeleir et al., 2011). In our experiment, we implicitly
assumed that receiving creative contributions from someone else
ultimately benefits the feedback seeker. However, this does not
have to be the case. For example, Mueller, Melwani, and Goncalo
(2012) showed that people are often unable to appreciate and
recognize truly creative ideas due to the uncertainty associated
with the creative process. Thus, invited creativity does not neces-
sarily enhance the creativity of the person seeking feedback. Fu-
ture research should thus examine the interplay between feedback
seeker and giver and the conditions that boost the creativity not
only of the person being asked for feedback but also the person
receiving these contributions.
Finally, in the current study we only examined the extent to
which territorial marking undermined the creativity of those con-
tributions that the feedback provider was willing to share. Work by
C
ˇerne, Nerstad, Dysvik, and Škerlavaj (2014), however, suggests
that marking may not only diminish the creativity of the comments
and suggestions offered by the feedback provider but may also
cause this person to withhold relevant ideas altogether. To the
extent that the person requesting feedback can discern that the
feedback provider is withholding relevant ideas and suggestions,
this may then cause a spiral of distrust and idea hiding on both
sides ultimately undermining the creativity of all parties. Process-
oriented research using longitudinal designs is needed to examine
these kinds of spirals.
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1794 BROWN AND BAER
Practical Implications
Our results highlight at least two practical dilemmas. First,
while territorial marking may be reflective of the feedback seek-
er’s deep level of ownership of the focal object—a state known to
have a number of positive consequences—such marking may
demotivate and deter those needed for feedback, at least when they
embrace a rather independent view of the self. Thus, one dilemma
involves the tradeoff between being heavily invested in one’s
psychological possessions, while at the same time remaining open
to sharing these possessions in an unrestricted (i.e., nonterritorial)
manner with others. Organizations, particularly those whose sur-
vival relies heavily upon the creativity of their members, may want
to minimize the use of territorial behaviors in social interactions.
One way to achieve this may be by fostering a culture in which
ideas and other intellectual possessions are considered to be col-
lective properties rather than individual belongings (Kelley &
Littman, 2001). In particular, by using incentives that explicitly
reward collaborative idea generation efforts rather than individual
creativity, organizations may be able to limit the use of territorial
behavior. Thus, instilling an interdependent value orientation may
serve to temper people’s desires to mark their ideas when soliciting
creative input from others.
The results of our second study suggest that such an interde-
pendent value orientation is particularly helpful when those we
approach for creative input maintain their uniqueness with an
independent self-construal. Indeed, when people are willing to
unconditionally share their ideas but others feel obligated to con-
form and to establish their connectedness due to their interdepen-
dent self-views, intrinsic motivation and invited creativity are
limited. Thus, the second practical dilemma is to create an envi-
ronment in which people embrace an interdependent value orien-
tation, which encourages the unconditional sharing of ideas, while
simultaneously adopting an independent view of the self, which
promotes the development of ideas that challenge existing assump-
tions and viewpoints. Conversely, when individuals are constricted
in their motivation and creativity by their interdependent self-
construal, engaging in territorial marking can have some benefits.
Thus, organizations need to be mindful in balancing what is being
valued—individual or collective achievements—with how people
see themselves—as unique individuals first and foremost or as a
part of a larger collective. Indeed, it is in this balance where true
creativity seems to lie. These suggestions are consistent with
emerging work that suggests that integrating elements of both
individualism and collectivism may result in the highest levels of
creativity (e.g., Bechtoldt et al., 2012).
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Received January 23, 2013
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Accepted March 20, 2015
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This paper links parallel discussions of territoriality and organizational forgetting to examine why public organizations may experience difficulties during political shifts using public accounts of the U.S. EPA. To accomplish this task, the metaphor of tattoo removal is explored through the criminal justice literature. In particular, tattoo removal provides an analogous set of concepts to understand, frame, and evaluate the enduring physical and psychological residues of organizational territoriality generally, and marking behavior specifically. Residues of political and other organizational changes can produce marks that are not easily removed or forgotten, stunting daily managerial practices. Difficulties with instituting corrective action can result when employees actively mark to remember.
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Using 456 supervisor-employee dyads from four organizations, this study examined how employees use one proactive behavior, feedback seeking, as a strategy to enhance their creative performance. As hypothesized, employees' cognitive style and perceived organizational support for creativity affected two patterns of feedback seeking: the propensity to inquire for feedback and the propensity to monitor the environment for indirect feedback. Feedback inquiry related to supervisor ratings of employee creative performance. These results highlight the importance of employees' self-regulatory behaviors in the creative process and show that feedback seeking is not only a strategy that facilitates individual adaptation, but also a resource for achieving creative outcomes.
Book
I: Background.- 1. An Introduction.- 2. Conceptualizations of Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination.- II: Self-Determination Theory.- 3. Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Perceived Causality and Perceived Competence.- 4. Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Interpersonal Communication and Intrapersonal Regulation.- 5. Toward an Organismic Integration Theory: Motivation and Development.- 6. Causality Orientations Theory: Personality Influences on Motivation.- III: Alternative Approaches.- 7. Operant and Attributional Theories.- 8. Information-Processing Theories.- IV: Applications and Implications.- 9. Education.- 10. Psychotherapy.- 11. Work.- 12. Sports.- References.- Author Index.
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People develop feelings of ownership for a variety of objects, material and immaterial in nature. We refer to this state as psychological ownership. Building on and extending previous scholarship, the authors offer a conceptual examination of this construct. After defining psychological ownership, they address "why" it exists and "how" it comes into being. They propose that this state finds its roots in a set of intraindividual motives (efficacy and effectance, self-identity, and having a place to dwell). In addition, they discuss the experiences that give rise to psychological ownership and propose several positive and negative consequences of this state. The authors' work provides a foundation for the development of a comprehensive theory of psychological ownership and the conceptual underpinnings for empirical testing.
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