Teresa M. Amabile's research while affiliated with Harvard Medical School and other places

Publications (87)

Article
In this Academy of Management Collections essay, we curate a set of articles from the Academy of Management family of journals that showcase the evolution of creativity research within organizational scholarship. The articles reveal a shift from the study of creativity exclusively as an outcome to the broader study of the dynamics of “creative work...
Article
Retirement means relinquishing the daily structure that work provides and the career-dependent meanings that it offers life narratives. The retirement transition can therefore involve contemplating both how to spend newly-freed daily time and the implications of retirement for one’s life narrative. We investigate how American professionals construe...
Chapter
In this reflection on my career researching creativity, I describe key turning points in my intellectual development, in the direction of my empirical and theoretical work, and in my growing understanding—along with the field’s understanding—of the complexities of creativity. I acknowledge the crucial roles played by many mentors, collaborators, co...
Article
Quantitative research, using surveys and archival data, has contributed much to the field’s understanding of the retirement transition, the factors influencing it, and its consequences. In this commentary, I argue that, in order to move to a deeper understanding of retirement decisions, retirement processes, and retirement experiences, researchers...
Article
Full-text available
How do teams working on complex projects get the help they need? Our qualitative investigation of the help provided to project teams at a prominent design firm revealed two distinct helping processes, both characterized by deep, sustained engagement that far exceeds the brief interactions described in the helping literature. Such deep help consiste...
Article
Creativity researchers have long paid careful attention to individual creativity, beginning with studies of well-known geniuses, and expanding to personality, biographical, cognitive, and social-psychological studies of individual creative behavior. Little is known, however, about the everyday psychological experience and associated creative behavi...
Article
How do teams working on complex projects get the help they need? Our qualitative investigation of the help provided to project teams at a prominent design firm revealed two distinct helping processes, both characterized by deep, sustained engagement that far exceeds the brief interactions described in the helping literature. Such deep help consiste...
Article
People will be most creative when they feel motivated primarily by the interest, enjoyment, satisfaction, and challenge of the work itself – and not by external pressures. This is the “Intrinsic Motivation Principle of Creativity’, and it suggests that the social environment, particularly the presence or absence of external pressures in that enviro...
Article
Leveraging insights gained through a burgeoning research literature over the past 28 years, this paper presents a significant revision of the model of creativity and innovation in organizations published in Research in Organizational Behavior in 1988. This update focuses primarily on the individual-level psychological processes implicated in creati...
Chapter
Creativity is the generation of novel and appropriate ideas or products. Innovation is the successful implementation of creative ideas within an organization. Individual creativity, which can vary from modest to “genius” levels, depends on three components within the individual and one external component. The intra-individual components are domain...
Chapter
Intrinsic motivation is the motivation to do something for its own sake, for the sheer enjoyment of a task. Extrinsic motivation is the motivation to do something in order to attain some external goal or meet some externally imposed constraint. Feelings of self-determination, control, and satisfaction have long been linked to an intrinsically motiv...
Article
When J. Richard Hackman died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on January 8, 2013, psychology lost a giant. Six-and-a-half feet tall, with an outsize personality to match, Richard was the leading scholar in two distinct areas: work design and team effectiveness. In both domains, his work is foundational. Throughout his career, Richard applied rigorous m...
Article
Full-text available
Full Text: http://hbr.org/2014/01/ideos-culture-of-helping/ar/1 Leaders can do few things more important than encouraging helping behavior within their organizations. In the highest-performing companies, it is a norm that colleagues support one another's efforts to do the best work they can. That has always been true for efficiency reasons, but co...
Working Paper
Through an inductive, multi-method field study at a major design firm, we investigated the helping process in project work and how that process affects the success of a helping episode, as perceived by help-givers and/or -receivers. We used daily diary entries and weekly interviews from four project teams, and a separate sample of critical incident...
Article
When J. Richard Hackman died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on January 8, 2013, psychology lost a giant. Six and a half feet tall, with an outsize personality to match, Richard was the leading scholar in two distinct areas: work design and team effectiveness. In both domains, his work is foundational. Throughout his career, Richard applied rigorous m...
Article
Full-text available
Scholars began serious study into the social psychology of creativity about 25 years after the field of creativity research had taken root. Over the past 35 years, examination of social and environmental influences on creativity has become increasingly vigorous, with broad implications for the psychology of human performance, and with applications...
Chapter
Creativity research has moved from an almost exclusive emphasis on the creative person towards a more balanced inquiry that centers on both individual difference issues and questions about the nature of creative products and the conditions that facilitate their creation. Over 30 years of research show that product creativity can be reliably and val...
Article
This study examined the convergent and construct validity of ratings of individual creative contributions in a team context. A sample of 201 employees and supervisors, working on 26 team projects, completed the NEO-Five Factor Inventory and rated themselves and their teammates monthly on a single item measuring creative contributions to the project...
Article
Two experiments examined the effects of evaluation expectation and the presence of others on creativity. In both experiments, some subjects expected that their work would be evaluated by experts, and others expected no evaluation. Evaluation expectation was crossed, in each experiment, with the presence of others. In the first experiment, the prese...
Article
The psychological study of creativity is essential to human progress. If strides are to be made in the sciences, humanities, and arts, we must arrive at a far more detailed understanding of the creative process, its antecedents, and its inhibitors. This review, encompassing most subspecialties in the study of creativity and focusing on twenty-first...
Chapter
Full-text available
Although the literatures on both organizational creativity and organizational improvisation have been expanding in recent years, the links between these literatures have not been deeply explored. This chapter explores those links to create a conceptualization of improvisational creativity in organizations. After reviewing existing theory on the cre...
Chapter
eople will be most creative when they feel motivated primarily by the interest, enjoy­ ment, satisfaction, and challenge of the work itself – and not by external pressures. This is the “Intrinsic Motivation Principle of Creativity” (Amabile, 1996), and it suggests that the social environment, particularly the presence or absence of external pressur...
Article
In today's innovation-driven economy, understanding how to generate great ideas has become an urgent managerial priority. Suddenly, the spotlight has turned on the academics who've studied creativity for decades. How relevant is their research to the practical challenges leaders face? To connect theory and practice, Harvard Business School professo...
Article
Anyone in management knows that employees have their good days and their bad days--and that, for the most part, the reasons for their ups and downs are unknown. Most managers simply shrug their shoulders at this fact of work life. But does it matter, in terms of performance, if people have more good days than bad days? Teresa Amabile and Steven Kra...
Article
Full-text available
This study explored how affect relates to creativity at work. Using both quantitative and qualitative longitudinal data from the daily diaries of 222 employees in seven companies, we examined the nature, form, and temporal dynamics of the affect-creativity relationship. The results indicate that positive affect relates positively to creativity in o...
Article
This exploratory study investigated leader behaviors related to perceived leader support, encompassing both instrumental and socioemotional support. The study first established that leader support, proposed to be a key feature of the work environment for creativity, was positively related to the peer-rated creativity of subordinates working on crea...
Article
Full-text available
If you're like most managers, you've worked with people who swear they do their most creative work under tight deadlines. You may use pressure as a management technique, believing it will spur people on to great leaps of insight. You may even manage yourself this way. If so, are you right? Not necessarily, these researchers say. There are instances...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research, from Guilford's founding tradition to more modern research on individual creativity and general group processes, falls short of adequately describing team-level creativity. Alhough researchers have addressed brainstorming in groups with mixed findings, little is known about how creative minds interact in group processes. In this...
Article
Although laypeople and creativity theorists often make the assumption that individual creativity depends primarily on talent, there is considerable evidence that hard work and intrinsic motivation--which can be supported or undermined by the social environment--also play central roles. In this article, the author uses the thoughts and work of the n...
Article
Although laypeople and creativity theorists often make the assumption that individual creativity depends primarily on talent, there is considerable evidence that hard work and intrinsic motivation-which can be supported or undermined by the social environment-also play central roles. In this article, the author uses the thoughts and work of the nov...
Article
We present a case of academic-practitioner research collaboration to illuminate three potential determinants of the success of such cross-profession collaborations: collaborative team characteristics, collaboration environment characteristics, and collaboration processes. The case study, drawing on both qualitative and quantitative data, illustrate...
Article
This study examined the work environment for creativity at a large high-technology firm before, during, and after a major downsizing. Creativity and most creativity-supporting aspects of the perceived work environment declined significantly during the downsizing but: increased modestly later; the opposite pattern was observed for creativity-undermi...
Article
This study sought to determine the impact of 2 differing instructional approaches on creative problem-solving performance. Eighty-two college students completed a novel structure-building task after receiving algorithmic instruction (providing a rote, step-by-step algorithm for building a sample structure), heuristic instruction (demonstrating the...
Article
This study set out to identify specific task behaviors that predict observable product creativity in three domains and to identify which of those behaviors mediate the well-established link between intrinsic motivation and creativity. One-hundred fifty-one undergraduate students completed a motivational measure and were later videotaped while engag...
Article
Comments on R. Eisenberger and J. Cameron's (see record 1996-06440-007) discussion on the impact of reward on creativity. The authors argue that Eisenberger and Cameron overlooked or failed to adequately explain several demonstrations of lower creativity on rewarded activities as compared with nonrewarded activities. Moreover, the evidence they pr...
Article
Creativity in all fields, including business, flourishes under intrinsic motivation—the drive to do something because it is interesting, involving, exciting, satisfying, or personally challenging. This article presents the Componential Theory of Organizational Creativity and Innovation, which defines the factors—including intrinsic motivation—that...
Article
This paper defines and describes entrepreneurial creativity, which is the generation and implementation of novel, appropriate ideas to establish a new venture. Entrepreneurial creativity can be exhibited in established organizations as well as in start-up firms. The central thesis of this paper is that entrepreneurial creativity requires a combinat...
Article
Amabile's (1983a, 1983b, 1988) componential model of creativity predicts that three major components contribute to creativity: skills specific to the task domain, general (cross-domain) creativity-relevant skills, and task motivation. If all three components actually do contribute to creative performance, multiple measures of creativity taken from...
Article
We describe the development and validation of a new instrument, KEYS: Assessing the Climate for Creativity, designed to assess perceived stimulants and obstacles to creativity in organizational work environments. The KEYS scales have acceptable factor structures, internal consistencies, test-retest reliabilities, and preliminary convergent and disc...
Article
This study assessed the effectiveness of engaging students in a creative activity on a topic as a means of encouraging an active cognitive set toward learning that topic area. This technique was examined in three motivational contexts. Before reading a short instructional passage, subjects completed either, a creative or a noncreative pretask and h...
Article
Reports an error in the original article by T. M. Amabile et al (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1994[May], Vol 66[5], 950–967). Items 5 and 11 in Table 1 appeared in the incorrect column. The correct version of the table is provided. (The following abstract of this article originally appeared in record 1994-35880-001.) The Work Prefe...
Article
The Work Preference Inventory (WPI) is designed to assess individual differences in intrinsic and extrinsic motivational orientations. Both the college student and the working adult versions aim to capture the major elements of intrinsic motivation (self-determination, competence, task involvement, curiosity, enjoyment, and interest) and extrinsic...
Article
The foundation for a model of motivational synergy is presented. Building upon but going beyond previous conceptualizations, the model outlines the ways in which intrinsic motivation (which arises from the intrinsic value of the work for the individual) might interact with extrinsic motivation (which arises from the desire to obtain outcomes that a...
Conference Paper
A componential model of creativity is presented, in which three essential components-domain-relevant skills, creativity-relevant skills, and intrinsic task motivation-enter into the creative process. Evidence is presented demonstrating that work environments can influence intrinsic motivation and, thus, creativity. An effort is then made to explore...
Article
The Creative Environment Scales Work Environment Inventory (WEI) is a new paper‐and‐pencil instrument designed to assess stimulants and obstacles to creativity in the work environment. Unlike many instruments that are designed as comprehensive descriptions of the work environment, the WEI focuses on those factors in the work environment that are mo...
Article
Two studies were conducted to examine the effect of intrinsic motivation training on children's subsequent motivational orientation and creativity in an expectedreward situation. Past research has demonstrated the overjustification effect: Children who work on an interesting task in order to obtain a reward demonstrate lower subsequent intrinsic mo...
Article
The subjective judgment of observers was used to assess verbal creativity. Students, aged 5-10, told a story to accompany a picture series. Teachers rated the stories relative to one another. Interjudge reliability of the creativity measure was highly satisfactory. Two subsequent studies affirmed the results, with slightly lower interjudge reliabil...
Article
Full-text available
: Commentary essay on Findlay and Lumsden's ‘The creative mind: toward an evolutionary theory of discovery and innovation’ in the same issue. Forward to this special issue is by Edward O. Wilson. Discusses Amabile's social psychology of creative environments and intrinsic motivation theory of creativity. Considers the role of personality factors in...
Article
The pamphlet reviews research on creativity and applies it to the learning process. After discussing the definition and measurement of creativity, the components of creative performance are outlined, including domain-relevant skills, creativity-relevant skills, and intrinsic task motivation. Factors which destroy students' creativity are noted, suc...
Article
Three studies were conducted to examine the effects of reward on children's and adult's creativity. The primary hypothesis was that explicitly contracting to do an activity in order to receive a reward will have negative effects on creativity, but receiving no reward or only a noncontracted-for reward will have no such negative effects. All three s...
Article
72 members of the college community who identified themselves as actively involved in creative writing participated in individual laboratory sessions, in which they were asked to write 2 brief poems, to investigate the hypothesis that intrinsic motivation is conducive to creativity and extrinsic motivation is detrimental. In the present study, intr...
Article
The ideas presented in this book have been incubating for over 25 years. I was in the first grade, I believe, when the ideas that eventually developed into this social psychology of creativity first began to germinate. The occasion was art class, a weekly Friday afternoon event during which we were given small reproductions of the great masterworks...
Article
14 2–6 yr olds enrolled in a day-care center made collages using a subset of a large array of materials. Half the Ss were allowed to choose those materials they would use. For the rest of the Ss, the choice was made by the experimenter. Ss in the no-choice condition were yoked to those in the choice condition by the specific materials they were giv...
Article
Using edited excerpts from actual negative and positive book reviews, this research examined the hypothesis that negative evaluators of intellectual products will be perceived as more intelligent than positive evaluators. The results strongly supported the hypothesis. Negative reviewers were perceived as more intelligent, competent, and expert than...
Chapter
Of the creative individuals whose first-person accounts were considered in Chapter 1, none appears to have been so strongly influenced by external constraints as was Sylvia Plath. And of those constraints that impeded her work, none was so devastating as evaluation— particularly competitive evaluation: “Yes, I want the world’ s praise, money, and l...
Chapter
The consensual definition of creativity, my assumptions about the nature of creativity assessment, and the requirements of an appropriate methodology for a social psychology of creativity led to the development of the consensual assessment technique used in my research. Before presenting studies that employed the technique and assessing the extent...
Chapter
When asked about the influence his mentors had on his professional development, a Nobel laureate in physics recalled their importance, not so much as teachers, but as models of thinking and working: I knew the techniques of research. I knew a lot of physics. I had the words, the libretto, but not quite the music. In other words, I had not been in c...
Chapter
The literature of social influences on creativity contains a curious finding. Not only does first birth order seem to foster creativity, but early death of a parent seems to function in the same way (Albert, 1980). On the average, in the general population, about 8% of people lose a parent through death before they are 16 years old. By contrast, as...
Chapter
The primary goal of this book is to develop the foundations of a social psychology of creativity. In order to accomplish this goal, however, it is necessary to meet a second goal of equal importance: to integrate the social— psychological approach within a more general theoretical framework for a comprehensive psychology of creativity. In the past,...
Chapter
The factors considered in Chapters 5–7 are usually directed specifically at the creative activity. For example, evaluation is focused on a particular product or response, or a task-specific reward is imposed, or choice on a given task is restricted. As indicated by the writings of creative persons reviewed in Chapter 1, however, even mundane social...
Chapter
One of the most fascinating and frustrating aspects of creativity is that, in some ways, it defies effort. Unlike most desirable behaviors that psychologists study, creative behavior cannot be achieved simply by trying. Even individuals who have previously distinguished themselves for outstanding creativity often fail to produce creative work, desp...
Chapter
Creativity researchers are often accused of not knowing what they are talking about. The definition and assessment of creativity have long been a subject of disagreement and dissatisfaction among psychologists, creating a criterion problem that researchers have tried to solve in a variety of ways. Some have proposed that creativity can be identifie...
Chapter
Although this certainly was not my initial aim, most of my research has uncovered methods for destroying creativity: making external evaluation salient, offering task— contingent rewards, imposing surveillance, making extrinsic motives salient. Other research on social— psychological factors, especially research using open— ended creativity tasks,...
Article
States that both the popular creativity tests, such as the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking, and the subjective assessment techniques used in some previous creativity studies are ill-suited to social psychological studies of creativity. A consensual definition of creativity is presented, and as a refinement of previous subjective methods, a reli...
Article
Girls whose ages ranged from 7 to 11 years made paper collages during I of 2 residential parties. Those in the experimental group were competing for prizes, whereas those in the control group expected that the prizes would be raffled off Artist-judges later rated each collage on several artistic dimensions, including creativity, technical goodness,...
Article
Two studies were conducted to demonstrate a bias toward negativity in evaluations of persons or their work in particular social circumstances. In Study 1, subjects evaluated materials written by peers. Those working under conditions that placed them in low status relative to the audience for their evaluations, or conditions that made their intellec...

Citations

... Gerade Management-Modewellen zeigen die Gefahren ungeprüfter Selektion bei der Nachahmung: Beim "Business Process Engineering" wird von bis zu 70% Fehlschlägen gesprochen und trotzdem stand es mehrere Jahre hoch im Kurs (Kieser, 1996). Beim personellen "Downsizing", das ja an der Börse zunächst oft honoriert wird, zeigte eine großangelegte 15-Jahres-Studie an amerikanischen Unternehmen, dass es die finanzielle Situation letztlich nicht verbessert, im Unterschied etwa zu gezielten Desinvestitionen von Unternehmensteilen (Morris, Cascio & Young, 1999); besonders die Arbeitsmotivation, die Kreativität und die Innovationen leiden darunter (Amabile & Conti, 1997). Die im Verwaltungsbereich von Firmen häufig angewendete Personalreduktionsmethode Methode der "Overhead Value Analysis" bzw. ...
... Unlike legacy identification, the incongruence here arises not from different perspectives on the identification (rooted in different temporal standpoints), but from one's perception of an identification as rooted in the past, and one's social reality as experienced in the present. With lingering identities, then, despite being keenly aware that one's circumstances have changed, and that there is no longer any formal connection to a particular identification target, one still feels defined by it-a common experience among retirees (Amabile, 2019;Reitzes & Mutran, 2006;Wendling & Sagas, 2021), workers who transition from one career to another (Ibarra & Obodaru, 2016), and organizational members promoted to more senior positions (Van Maanen, 1984). In a study of former prisoners, Toubiana (2021Toubiana ( : 1741 took the notion of lingering identities further, highlighting identity paralysis ("the freezing of identification with an undesirable or no longer appropriate target") as a major struggle for interviewees in life after prison, which hindered their successful reintegration into society. ...
... This is because economic development is largely a consequence of entrepreneurs who by implementing their creativity and innovativeness create new businesses [6]. "Innovation is the successful implementation of creative ideas by an organization" [7]. Innovativeness is considered to be one of the tools of entrepreneurship [8]. ...
... The uniqueness of the solutions was assessed using three techniques. First, uniqueness was assessed using the Consensual Assessment Technique (CAT) proposed by Amabile [47], [48]. Raters were asked to score each design on a scale of '1 = low uniqueness' to '6 = high uniqueness'. ...
... For instance, Wang and Shi (2014) reviewed empirical and conceptual literature on the psychological conceptualizations and models for understanding retirement, as well as the antecedents and outcomes of the transition. Amabile and Hall (2021) argue the importance of self-relevant research in which researchers investigate their own experiences with retirement. Pietilä et al. (2020) contradict the popular narrative that retirement is seen as a crisis for men and argue that class shapes how retirement is viewed by men. ...
... The expected skills and requirements are rather high for the graduates in creative industries, including architecture and design. Besides specific technical professional skills, the graduates are expected to have: openness and receptivity to new things, ability to observe, experience in teamwork, and creative thinking [e.g., 7,8,9]. What's more, all the constituents of design capabilities are epistemologically and methodologically strongly connected [10]. ...
... Specifically, exaptations can occur following a creative search process, in which a user-innovator begins with a product he wishes to hack and then seeks other purposes for which that product can be modified to serve. This dynamic is what we call a product-first search process (Cromwell et al. 2018). Exaptations can also occur via problem identification and formulation that occur before the search for a product, which could be modified to address the problem at hand; here, we have the classic problem-first search process (Erat and Krishnan 2012, Posen et al. 2018, Sommer et al. 2020. ...
... Regarding the measurement questionnaire of corporate creativity, Im and Workman (2004) believed that corporate creativity can be divided into two dimensions: novelty and feasibility. Therefore, this paper draws on the research results of Amabile et al. (1996) and combines the measurement scales of Im and Workman (2004) to measure the creativity of family businesses from six items in the two dimensions of novelty and feasibility. For example, "Company produces new ideas every year", "The company actively creates an environment to generate new ideas", "The company will often spend time discussing the practicality of innovative ideas", and "The company will proactively provide a place and environment to verify the practicality of innovative ideas". ...
... Moreover, employees with a high level of intrinsic motivation tend to be persistent in the face of difficulties, and more focused on seeking solutions to problems (Kehr, 2004;Rodell and Judge, 2009), thereby more likely to showing creativity. Intrinsic motivation can effectively stimulate the flexibility and sensitivity of individual thinking, and thus promote the formation of innovative ideas (Amabile and Conti, 1999;Min et al., 2015). Therefore, intrinsic motivation has a significant impact on innovation performance. ...
... Comparing the different approaches of the engaged scholarship, we followed a collaborative basic research approach that entails a greater collaboration between researchers and stakeholders. The method provides a close collaboration between researchers and other stakeholders to establish and maintain a shared understanding of key decisions among participants who have diverse backgrounds and interests (Bartunek and Louis 1996;Amabile et al. 2001;Mathiassen and Sandberg 2013). ...