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Dominance complementarity and group creativity

Creativity in Groups

ISBN: 978-1-84950-583-3, eISBN: 978-1-84950-584-0

ISSN: 1534-0856

Publication date: 9 November 2009


Dominance complementarity, which is the tendency for people to respond oppositely to others along the control dimension of interpersonal behavior, is a means by which people create and perpetuate informal forms of interpersonal hierarchy within social relationships (Tiedens, Unzueta, & Young, 2007b). In the present chapter, I explore the likely effects of such complementarity on group creativity. I propose specifically that expressions of dominance, even those borne not out of formal hierarchy but rather out of such factors as expertise and enthusiasm for the task, are likely to elicit submissive responses from fellow group members when the group is trying to generate creative ideas. As group members behaving submissively are likely to contribute fewer ideas to group discussion, I argue that group members who behave dominantly may, through their influence on other group members, reduce both the number and diversity of ideas generated within the group. I, therefore, propose that dominance complementarity may impair groups' abilities to generate creative ideas.


Wiltermuth, S.S. (2009), "Dominance complementarity and group creativity", Mannix, E.A., Goncalo, J.A. and Neale, M.A. (Ed.) Creativity in Groups (Research on Managing Groups and Teams, Vol. 12), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 57-85.



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