Creativity, trust and systematic processes in product development
This paper addresses the challenge of striking a balance between, on one hand, mitigating uncertainty through the existence of systematic processes and structures and, on the other, stimulating creativity through allowable variation in work processes and structures. Both objectives are fundamental aspects of product development work. Our main finding is that both objectives can be achieved simultaneously. We introduce trust as a mediating variable. We show first, that being systematic in the processes for obtaining information and applying explicit organizational rules and structures in product development work creates an atmosphere of trust in the organization. Second, we show that trust increases creativity. The paper contributes to an understanding of how and why trust is important in product development organizations and of how trust can be actively managed. Above all, the paper contributes to the understanding of how uncertainty and creativity should be managed in organizations conducting product development.
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