The effects of information technology on creativity
Abstract: All innovation begins with creative ideas. Thus, the quality of new products and services is dependent on the creative performance of individuals working alone or in groups. Deriving from research, it is assumed that creativity and information technology (IT) play important roles in service development. Given the increased importance of IT used as a means of communication in organizations, the present thesis aims to examine the effects information technology will have on creative performance. More specifically, the focus of the study was how the creative performance of small groups and individuals, operationalized in terms of process and product, was affected when provided IT tools for communicating ideas. The consensual assessment technique was employed along with independent judges to obtain objective measures. Additionally, participants subjective perceptions were also collected. Two experimental studies were conducted, both with IT as an independent variable. In Study I, the importance of internal beliefs, such as the perceived usefulness of IT, was also considered. Only with small effects detected. As for the IT variable, the possibility of interaction appeared as important, especially regarding the creative process. In study II, the effects of group versus individual creativity were also investigated. The results indicated that IT can decrease relevant creative abilities for both individuals and groups considering its quantitative aspects, with small groups having a better process, and to some extent, also product. Concerning the IT variable, the face-to-face group produced significantly more incubations and overall, also had a better flow in the creative process. Finally, of interest for validity, participants' self-reported perceptions of product and process showed agreement with objective measures. In conclusion, the results suggests that IT affects the creative process somewhat negatively, leaving the creative product more or less unaffected.
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