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Organizational creativity diluted: a critical appraisal of discursive practices in academic research

Annika Blomberg (Turku School of Economics, University of Turku, Pori, Finland)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 7 October 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the discursive practices employed in academic research on organizational creativity through a critical lens.

Design/methodology/approach

The literature on organizational creativity is reviewed from a discourse-theoretical perspective and three groupings of dominant discursive practices are identified. The theoretical and practical implications of the practices are discussed, and other potential aspects of creativity that appear to have been neglected or suppressed in the discourse are further examined.

Findings

The dominant discursive practices in the organizational creativity research contribute to the building of a simplified and one-sided picture of organizational creativity; a stripped-down and diluted version that is more easily achievable and manageable, and leads to positive outcomes. Failure to recognize its inherent complexities reduces the value of creativity as an organizational asset.

Originality/value

The findings contribute to the organizational creativity research in recognizing a range of dominant practices that appear to promote the dilution of the concept. Although the diluted and stripped-down version of organizational creativity suits the managerial agenda and complies with organizational discourse, it fails as an organizational asset, which should be about embracing the unconventional and risky, and taking advantage of change.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank Ari Ahonen, Tomi Kallio, Kati Suomi and Kati Halminen for their valuable insights, and comments on earlier drafts of this paper. The article is based partly on a paper presented at the EGOS Conference 2012, sub-theme 47, and the author is grateful to the participants for their comments and suggestions.

Citation

Blomberg, A. (2014), "Organizational creativity diluted: a critical appraisal of discursive practices in academic research", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 27 No. 6, pp. 935-954. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOCM-12-2013-0252

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited