Professor of Technology and Operations Management
Creativity; Knowledge Diversity; Tie Strength; Social Networks; Corporate Governance; Value Creation, Strategy and Implementation;
Understanding the determinants of creativity at the individual and organizational level has been the focus of a long history of research in various disciplines from the social sciences, but little attention has been devoted to studying creativity at the dyadic level.Why are some dyadic interactions more likely than others to trigger the generation of novel and useful ideas in organizations? As dyads conduit both knowledge and social forces, they offer an ideal setting to disentangle the effects of knowledge diversity, tie strength, and network structure on the generation of creative thoughts.This paper not only challenges the current belief that sporadic and distant dyadic relationships (weak ties) foster individual creativity, but also argues that diverse and strong ties facilitate the generation of creative ideas. From a knowledge viewpoint, our results suggest that ties that transmit a wide (rather than narrow) set of knowledge domains (within the same tie) favor creative idea generation if exchanges occur with sufficient frequency.From a social perspective, the authors find that strong ties serve as effective catalysts for the generation of creative ideas when they link actors who are intrinsically motivated to work closely together. Finally, this paper also shows that dyadic network cohesion (i.e., the connections from the focal dyad to common contacts) does not always hinder the generation of creative ideas.The empirical evidence suggests that when cohesion exceeds its average levels, it becomes detrimental to creative idea generation. Hypotheses are tested in a sociometric study conducted within the development department of a software firm.