Thinking inside the box: How conformity promotes creativity and innovation
Intuition, along with empirical research, suggests that the generation of creative ideas benefits from divergent thinking among team members. However, the generation of creative ideas represents only one stage of the innovative process; teams also must implement ideas. In this chapter, we propose that effective idea implementation may depend on the opposite of team divergence: team conformity. Specifically, we propose that conformity facilitates various group processes important for effective idea implementation, including team coordination, information exchange, conflict management, and collective efficacy. Next, we discuss the role of leaders in managing the magnitude and processes of conformity. The chapter concludes with a discussion of implications and important next steps for studying conformity in relation to team innovative effectiveness.