Creativity; Paradoxical Frame; Epistemic Motivation; Idea Elaboration; Groups and Teams
To successfully generate creative solutions, teams must reconcile inconsistent perspectives and integrate competing task demands. The authors suggest that adopting a paradoxical frame - a mental template that promotes recognizing and embracing the simultaneous existence of seemingly contradictory elements - helps teams navigate this process to produce creative ideas, if team members are epistemically motivated.The authors' results from two laboratory studies (N = 950) suggest that teams that adopt paradoxical frames and have high epistemic motivation develop more creative solutions than teams with paradoxical frames and low epistemic motivation or epistemically motivated teams with frames that only encourage information sharing.Teams with paradoxical frames and high epistemic motivation are more creative because they engage in idea elaboration - they exchange, consider, and integrate diverse ideas and perspectives. By contrast, other teams settle on suboptimal middle-way solutions that do not address task demands.The authors' research advances knowledge of why and when paradoxical frames benefit team creativity, by unpacking the processes that enable teams to leverage task and team tensions. The authors show that when teams collectively work through their tensions and elaborate their diverse ideas they become more creative.