Professor of Strategy
Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour
Employment in Foreign Countries; Creative ability in business; Research; Work Experience (Employment); Fashion Designers; Organizational Change; Executives - Psychology; Innovation Management; Foreign Workers; Psychological Aspects; Psychology; Experience; Originality; Fashion
The current research explores whether the foreign professional experiences of influential executives predict firm-level creative output.The authors introduce a new theoretical model, the Foreign Experience Model of Creative Innovations, to explain how three dimensions of executives' foreign work experiences—breadth, depth, and cultural distance—predict an organization's creative innovations, which the authors define as the extent to which final, implemented products or services are novel and useful from the standpoint of external audiences.The authors examined 11 years (21 seasons) of fashion collections of the world's top fashion houses and found that the foreign professional experiences of creative directors predicted the creativity ratings of their collections.The results revealed individual curvilinear effects for all three dimensions: moderate levels of breadth and cultural distance were associated with the highest levels of creative innovations, whereas depth showed a decreasing positive effect that never turned negative. A significant three-way interaction shows that depth is the most critical dimension for achieving creative innovations, with breadth and cultural distance important at low but not high levels of depth.These results show how and why leaders' foreign professional experiences can be a critical catalyst for creativity and innovation in their organizations.