Biases in Creativity Assessment: How the Social Setting Influences Observer's Perceptions of Team and Individual Creativity
One important aspect of enhancing creativity in organizations is to measure and reward creativity. However, not every creative process can be immediately tied to and measured by numerical standards. In such cases, the manager's subjective impression of employee creativity may replace objective measures as the basis for decision-making. In an organizational context, the social context in which the work occurs must be thoroughly considered as employees often work in groups on major products. As such, this paper examines two questions on how the social setting affects the observer's creativity assessment. Firstly, I demonstrate that observers use surface features of groups to infer the creativity of group output: they expect demographically diverse groups to be more creative than homogeneous groups and this difference in expectation biases the evaluation. Secondly, when observers form impressions of individual creativity based on group output, I demonstrate that they commit the fundamental attribution error in partitioning credit between others in the group and the target individual. In turn this either benefits or costs the perceived creativity of the target, depending on the objective quality of group output. Taken together, the two questions addressed in this paper emphasize the need for further research on factors that influence the observer's perception of creativity in an organizational context.
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