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Capitalizing on Creativity at Work

Capitalizing on Creativity at Work

Fostering the Implementation of Creative Ideas in Organizations

Edited by Miha Škerlavaj, Matej Černe, Anders Dysvik and Arne Carlsen

How does one implement highly creative ideas in the workplace? Though creativity fuels modern businesses and organizations, imaginative ideas are less likely to be implemented than moderate ones. The crux of this issue is explored as contributors present and analyze remedies for capitalizing on highly creative ideas.

Chapter 19: Organizing for co-creation and multi-polar learning communities

Maja Lotz and Peer Hull Kristensen

Subjects: business and management, knowledge management, organisational innovation, organisational behaviour, innovation and technology, knowledge management


Multinational firms (MNCs) are faced with increasing pressure to capitalize on creativity emerging from collaboration in and among various units and teams located within different contexts. Recent research suggests that, in contrast to traditional hierarchical models of multinational organization (for example, Egelhoff, 1991), MNCs’ competitive advantage increasingly derives from their potential to co-create and innovate in lateral collaborative communities by transferring, sharing, and recombining practices and knowledge previously compartmentalized around the world (Ghoshal et al., 1994; Nobel and Birkinshaw, 1998; Doz et al., 2003; Singh, 2005; Herrigel et al., 2012). Capitalizing on creativity has always been a challenge for organizations. Taylor’s (1911) theory of scientific management can be read as an attempt to let the organization and the larger society, rather than individual workers and their collective, benefit from creativity that occurs on the factory floor. But the effects of creativity under Taylorism were often manipulated by workers, for example through time measuring, so that in the end it led to factory settings that differed highly in terms of how much workers had capitalized on and privatized gains from creativity (Crozier and Friedberg, 1980; Kristensen, 1986). The turn to high-performance work organizations and mutually performance-competitive teams partly overcame this problem by making the team the capitalizing unit. However, it also created the problem of how teams could benefit from the creativity of other teams.

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