Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 56 of 76

54 September/October 2014 BizEd research What Sparks Team Creativity? was rated highest in a third. Once the project began, research assistants were instructed not to contribute ideas to their teams, but to monitor how power shifted from one team member to another when it came to assigning tasks or setting deadlines. Later, team mem- bers were asked to rate how legitimate they deemed each power shift to be on a scale of 1 to 7. The panel found that the most creative work came from those teams that shifted power most often and were most likely to view those shifts as legitimate. This occurred even though participants had false beliefs about the extent of their teammates' expertise. The researchers speculate that participants' willingness to power shift might have been driven by "chemistry" among the team members. The researchers acknowledge that achieving that kind of chemistry is more art than science. Still, they suggest that to encourage power shifting and boost team creativ- ity, managers could strive to include several individuals with leadership potential when putting teams together. They also could choose people with diverse skill sets, ensure all team members are aware of those skill sets, and not be afraid to change out team members when new skills better suit the task at hand. TWO STUDIES OFFER insights into how companies can boost the creativity and overall performance of their teams: ■ One study challenges the conventional wisdom that teams often do better with one person at the helm. In fact, teams may be more effective if leader- ship shifts from person to person over the course of a project, following a heterarchical rather than hierarchical pattern. That's the finding of Federico Aime, associate professor of management at Oklahoma State University's Spears School of Business in Still- water; Stephen Humphrey, profes- sor of management at Pennsylvania State University's Smeal College of Business in State College; D. Scott Derue, professor of management at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business in Ann Arbor; and Jeffrey B. Paul, assistant profes- sor of management at the University of Tulsa's Collins College of Busi- ness in Oklahoma. In an experiment, 131 business students were divided into 45 teams, each with two to three study par- ticipants and two research assistants pretending to be participants. Teams were asked to prepare marketing plans, design websites, and prepare presentations related to the promo- tion of a new cell phone to college students. A panel of judges would give $500 to the team with the most creative approach. Before starting the project, par- ticipants filled out questionnaires that supposedly rated their leader- ship skills on specific tasks, with the results posted to the entire group. The results, however, were arbitrary. The researchers chose, at random, two participants to rate highest in two tasks, while a research assistant ALPHASPI R IT/TH I N KSTOCK Federico Aime Stephen Humphrey D. Scott Derue Jeffrey Paul

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of BizEd - SeptOct2014