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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

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Adler, Paul S. & Chen, Clara Xiaoling, 2011. "Combining creativity and control: Understanding individual motivation in large-scale collaborative creativity," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 63-85, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:aosoci:v:36:y:2011:i:2:p:63-85
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Carlos Martin-Rios, 2016. "Innovative management control systems in knowledge work: a middle manager perspective," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 181-204, May.
    2. repec:eee:aosoci:v:58:y:2017:i:c:p:1-14 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. 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.
    4. Katarzyna Bratnicka, 2015. "Organizational Creativity and Firm Performance: Towards a Multilevel Understanding (Tworczosc organizacyjna i efektywnosc organizacji – w kierunku ujecia wielopoziomowego)," Problemy Zarzadzania, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Management, vol. 13(56), pages 131-143.
    5. Andrea Fried, 2017. "Terminological distinctions of ‘control’: a review of the implications for management control research in the context of innovation," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 5-40, February.
    6. Cooper, Christine, 2015. "Entrepreneurs of the self: The development of management control since 1976," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 14-24.
    7. Macinati, Manuela S. & Rizzo, Marco G., 2014. "Budget goal commitment, clinical managers’ use of budget information and performance," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 117(2), pages 228-238.
    8. repec:eee:spacre:v:19:y:2016:i:1:p:102-110 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Chenhall, Robert H. & Moers, Frank, 2015. "The role of innovation in the evolution of management accounting and its integration into management control," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 1-13.
    10. Grabner, Isabella & Speckbacher, Gerhard, 2016. "The cost of creativity: A control perspective," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 31-42.
    11. Eva Lövstål & Anne-Marie Jontoft, 2017. "Tensions at the intersection of management control and innovation: a literature review," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 41-79, February.
    12. repec:eee:touman:v:58:y:2017:i:c:p:119-131 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. François Meyssonnier, 2015. "Les dispositifs de pilotage de la performance en environnement innovant et incertain : étude comparative de huit startups," Working Papers hal-01147206, HAL.

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