Creative idea generation: harmony versus stimulation



The literature on maintaining versus changing membership of groups has generally favored stable membership, not only for more cohesion and morale but for better performance via comfort and shared experiences. On the other hand, research on the stimulating properties of dissent, debate and diversity would argue for a change in membership in that it would provide access to differing views and stimulate more divergent and creative thought. The present study investigated idea generation when membership was maintained versus completely changed. We predicted and found that maintaining membership increases comfort and also the perception of creativity but not actual creative behavior whereas changing membership results in a less comfortable experience but also an increase in the number and creativity of the ideas generated. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.