How is Creativity Best Managed? Some Empirical and Theoretical Guidelines


  • Robert Epstein,

  • Katrina Kaminaka,

  • Victoria Phan,

  • Rachel Uda


In an Internet-based study with an ethnically-diverse sample of 1,337 managers from 19 countries (mainly the US and Canada), eight managerial competencies that elicit creativity in subordinates were ranked according to how well they predicted desirable self-reported outcomes. The most valuable of eight managerial competencies proved to be: Provides Adequate and Appropriate Resources. Females outscored males in all eight competency areas, a dramatic finding that is consistent with other research on executive skills. The eight competencies can be derived from Generativity Theory, a formal, empirically-based theory of the creative process, and are also evident in many successful cases of creativity enhancement in business and industry. Scores on a test that measured the competencies were substantially higher for people who had had creativity management training and were positively correlated with the number of hours of training people reported. In general, the study revealed a fairly dramatic range of competence across the eight areas and suggests that most managers lack trainable skills that are essential for encouraging workplace creativity.