AN ANALYSIS OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INFORMATION SOURCES AND CREATIVITY IN SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS

Authors

  • CONRAD J. KASPERSON

    1. Conrad J. Kasperson (Ph.D., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1976) is an assistant professor in the Department of Business Administration at Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17604.
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  • This study accepted for publication May 18, 1977.

Abstract

The literature is replete with analyses of creativity as related to personality traits and organizational constraints. Based on Mednick's (1962) associationist position, it was felt that information use patterns play a key role in an individual's process of creativity.

In order to test this idea, 29 academic and 36 industrial physical scientists and engineers were categorized as either creative and productive; productive, but not creative; or noncreative and nonproductive on the basis of peer evaluation. Their information seeking and receiving behavior and attitudes were then measured and related to the criterion group membership.

Two significant results emerged; First, consistent with the associationist position, variety of exposure to information content, in terms of scientific disciplines from which the information was received, was significantly different for the three groups, with the creative group having the greatest variety. Second, group membership can, with a fairly high probability, be predicted based on information seeking behavior and attitudes.

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