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Combining creativity and control: Understanding individual motivation in large-scale collaborative creativity

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  • Adler, Paul S.
  • Chen, Clara Xiaoling
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    Abstract

    Recent research has shown that management control systems (MCS) can improve performance in contexts characterized by high levels of task uncertainty. This seems to conflict with a second stream of research, which argues that MCSs risk undermining the intrinsic motivation needed for effective performance in such settings. To solve this puzzle, we build on theories of perceived locus of causality and self-construal and develop an integrative model summarized in 15 propositions. To explicate our proposed solution and to show its robustness, we focus on the class of activities we call large-scale collaborative creativity (LSCC) - contexts where individuals face a dual challenge of demonstrating creativity and embracing the formal controls that coordinate their creative activities with others'. We argue that LSCC requires the simultaneous activation of intrinsic and identified forms of motivation, and simultaneously independent and interdependent self-construals. Against some scholarship that argues or assumes that such simultaneous combinations are infeasible, we argue that they can be fostered through appropriate attraction-selection-attrition policies and management control systems design. We also show how our propositions can enrich our understanding of motivation in other settings, where creativity and/or coordination demands are less pressing.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Accounting, Organizations and Society.

    Volume (Year): 36 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (February)
    Pages: 63-85

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:aosoci:v:36:y:2011:i:2:p:63-85

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/aos

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    References

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    1. Kunz, Alexis H. & Pfaff, Dieter, 2002. "Agency theory, performance evaluation, and the hypothetical construct of intrinsic motivation," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 275-295, April.
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    7. Abernethy, Margaret A. & Brownell, Peter, 1997. "Management control systems in research and development organizations: The role of accounting, behavior and personnel controls," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 22(3-4), pages 233-248.
    8. Davila, Antonio & Foster, George & Li, Mu, 2009. "Reasons for management control systems adoption: Insights from product development systems choice by early-stage entrepreneurial companies," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 34(3-4), pages 322-347, April.
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    11. Jeffrey A. Roberts & Il-Horn Hann & Sandra A. Slaughter, 2006. "Understanding the Motivations, Participation, and Performance of Open Source Software Developers: A Longitudinal Study of the Apache Projects," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(7), pages 984-999, July.
    12. Bisbe, Josep & Otley, David, 2004. "The effects of the interactive use of management control systems on product innovation," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 29(8), pages 709-737, November.
    13. Chapman, Christopher S. & Kihn, Lili-Anne, 2009. "Information system integration, enabling control and performance," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 151-169, February.
    14. Abernethy, Margaret A. & Brownell, Peter, 1999. "The role of budgets in organizations facing strategic change: an exploratory study," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 189-204, April.
    15. Mark Marotto & Johan Roos & Bart Victor, 2007. "Collective Virtuosity in Organizations: A Study of Peak Performance in an Orchestra," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 388-413, 05.
    16. Antonio Davila & George Foster & Daniel Oyon, 2009. "Accounting and Control, Entrepreneurship and Innovation: Venturing into New Research Opportunities," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(2), pages 281-311.
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    Cited by:
    1. Rowe, Casey & Shields, Michael D. & Birnberg, Jacob G., 2012. "Hardening soft accounting information: Games for planning organizational change," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 260-279.

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