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

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

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

    Volume (Year): 116 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 229-240

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:116:y:2011:i:2:p:229-240
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    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.
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