IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Paradoxical frames and creative sparks: Enhancing individual creativity through conflict and integration


  • Miron-Spektor, Ella
  • Gino, Francesca
  • Argote, Linda


Across industries, organizations operate in increasingly complex and uncertain environments. To succeed in such environments, organizations require their members to think creatively and integrate conflicting demands. We propose that the adoption of paradoxical frames—mental templates that encourage individuals to recognize and embrace contradictions—increases creativity. In four laboratory studies using different creativity tasks and different manipulations for eliciting paradoxical frames, participants who adopted paradoxical frames were more creative than their counterparts who did not. Our results suggest that the positive influence of paradoxical frames on creativity is due to the paradoxical relationship between task elements and not merely to their joint activation. This paradoxical relationship creates a sense of conflict in individuals and enhances their ability to integrate contradictions, which in turn increases creativity.

Suggested Citation

  • Miron-Spektor, Ella & Gino, Francesca & Argote, Linda, 2011. "Paradoxical frames and creative sparks: Enhancing individual creativity through conflict and integration," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 116(2), pages 229-240.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:116:y:2011:i:2:p:229-240
    DOI: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2011.03.006

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paulus, Paul B. & Yang, Huei-Chuan, 2000. "Idea Generation in Groups: A Basis for Creativity in Organizations," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 76-87, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Miron-Spektor, Ella & Beenen, Gerard, 2015. "Motivating creativity: The effects of sequential and simultaneous learning and performance achievement goals on product novelty and usefulness," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 53-65.
    2. Kim, Yeun Joon & Zhong, Chen-Bo, 2017. "Ideas rise from chaos: Information structure and creativity," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 15-27.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:116:y:2011:i:2:p:229-240. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.