Between Control and Autonomy
Edited by Katarina Kaarbøe, Paul N. Gooderham and Hanne Nørreklit
Chapter 11: The autonomy-creativity orientation of elite business school students in the US and Norway
In staking out a new management paradigm appropriate for radically more dynamic business environments, Bogsnes (2009: 3) asks two questions: “What is it that really drives good performance?” and “How do we release creativity and innovation?” The notion is that employee creativity is increasingly important for organizations attempting to develop novel products and services, and innovative processes that build long-term competitive advantages (Zhang and Bartol, 2010). Bogsnes (2009) argues that one key to releasing employee creativity and innovation lies in management ridding itself of a controlling “Theory X” mindset (McGregor, 1957, 1960). Theory X assumes that employees are basically lazy, lack ambition and offer little in the way of useful ideas. Instead, Bogsnes argues for the adoption of a “Theory Y” mindset, which rests on the core assumptions that employees are capable of self-direction and autonomy, and that they can be the source of many useful ideas. In this regard, Bogsnes states: “When sailing in these new waters, we need less traditional management and more leadership, less theory X and more theory Y. This is the only way to mobilize the maximum performance from everyone onboard” (2009: xvii–xviii). He also argues that the intrinsic motivation that drives creativity can be easily undermined through the use of extrinsic rewards, such as individual bonus systems. “The bonus,” Bogsnes (2009: 34) contends, “undermines some of the interest in the job itself.”
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