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Creativity research should be a social science

Multi-Level Issues in Creativity and Innovation

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1476-8, eISBN: 978-1-84950-553-6

Publication date: 25 March 2008


This commentary is intended to complement the chapter written by Agars, Kaufman, and Locke (this volume). Agars et al. (this volume) are correct in stating that innovation is a vital part of business and that much can be learned about innovation from studies of creativity. This commentary underscores several of the more important points made by Agars et al., questions others, and fills in several gaps found in their chapter. Perhaps most important are the qualifications offered in the present commentary, which are intended to constrain some of the claims made in Agars et al.'s chapter. Related to this is the need to consider the larger picture of scholarship dealing with innovation and creativity. For example, there may be an originality bias among creativity researchers and an unfortunate tendency to ignore relevant but older research. This commentary does have a critical tone, but only because many of Agars et al.'s arguments are entirely tenable and need not be repeated. The gaps, however, should be filled, and some of the claims qualified. Nevertheless, some ambiguity is useful with a complex topic, such as creativity, and it is important to recognize that creativity is not entirely a social process.


Runco, M.A. (2008), "Creativity research should be a social science", Mumford, M.D., Hunter, S.T. and Bedell-Avers, K.E. (Ed.) Multi-Level Issues in Creativity and Innovation (Research in Multi-Level Issues, Vol. 7), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 75-94.



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