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Towards a Self-Managed Climate for Creativity: The link between a self- managing structure of teams, a team climate and creativity


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Towards a Self-Managed Climate for Creativity: The link between a self- managing structure of teams, a team climate and creativity

Name: Lausanne Bos Student Number: 12931349 Date: 24th of June 2021 Version: Final version

Qualification: MSc. In Business Administration – Digital Business Track


Statement of Originality

This document is written by Student Lausanne Bos who declares to take full responsibility for the contents of this document. I declare that the text and the work presented in this document is original and that no sources other than those mentioned in the text and its references have been used in creating it. The Faculty of Economics and Business is responsible solely for the supervision of completion of the work, not for the contents.


Table of Contents

Statement of Originality 2

List of tables and figures 5

Abstract 6

1. Introduction 8

2. Literature review 14

2.1. Self-Managed Teams 14

2.2. Team Creativity 17

2.3. Self-Managed Teams and Creativity 19

2.4. Team Climate for Creativity 20

3. Methodology 24

3.1. Research Design 24

3.2. Research Setting 26

3.3. Data Collection 27

3.4. Data Analysis 29

4. Results 32

4.1. Team Member Emotions 33

4.2. Team Member Manner of Information Processing 37

4.3. Normative Interpersonal Behavior 41


5. Discussion 51

5.1. Theoretical contributions 61

5.2. Practical Implications 63

5.3. Limitations and suggestions for future research 65

5.4. Conclusion 68

6. References 69

7. Appendices 89

7.1. Interview summaries 89

7.2. Summative tables of viewpoints per case, per each second-order theme 110


List of tables and figures

Table 3.1.: Demographic information on firms included in this study 26 Table 3.2.: Features of each case included in this study 27 Figure 3.1. Schematic overview of data analysis according to method of Gioia et al. (2013) 30 Figure 4.1.: A framework of a team climate for creativity 48



To succeed in today’s competitive business landscape, firms increasingly hold their Self- Managed Teams (SMT’s) accountable for the rapid generation and implementation of innovative ideas. This is because firms expect that the team autonomy of SMT’s incites intrinsic motivation and increases a sense of responsibility and willingness to experiment, which, in turn, must ensure the fabrication of novel and valuable ideas. Nonetheless, the creativity of teams is contingent upon more than just a self-managed structure. Therefore, this study investigates how the constitution of a team climate could stimulate the creativity of SMT’s. A team climate is defined as the team’s shared perception of the atmosphere, and its constitution comprises a set of variables and higher-order facets. Hence, the researcher formulated the following research question: How do Self-Managed Teams stimulate team creativity, through affective and cognitive climate facets? Through a multiple case study of three semi-autonomous teams and two SMT’s of digital advertisement agencies, where each case comprised two interviewed team members, the researcher explored what variables and facets compose a team climate for creativity and how these variables and facets interact.

Besides, to understand how SMT’s stimulate creativity, the researcher examined contrasts between the climate configuration of semi-autonomous teams and SMT’s. The results demonstrate that a contemporary team climate for creativity consists of a cyclic configuration of three facets that overarch ten climate variables. Moreover, the findings indicate that senior team members assume responsibility for stimulating the appropriate team climate configuration and its corresponding variables in semi-autonomous teams. Contrastingly, the encouragement of the team climate for creativity configuration is reciprocal among all team members in SMT’s. Hence, it is likely that this reciprocity in SMT’s stimulates creativity through the elimination of follower dependency. However, to prevent possible peer pressure and


(shared) confidence and participation safety in an SMT climate for creativity. On this basis, theoretical and practical contributions are discussed, and potential avenues for further research are identified.


1. Introduction

To succeed in today's competitive and dynamic business landscape, firms must be agile; they must continuously adapt to recent developments and corresponding new challenges (Tuominen et al., 2004). Accordingly, for firms to survive, the fast generation and implementation of innovative ideas are vital (Richtnér & Löfsten, 2014; Volberda et al., 2018). In their quest for agility, several organizations have pushed decision-making forward to their self-managed teams (Richtnér & Löfsten, 2014; Super, 2020). As opposed to individuals, teams benefit from the disparate and combined knowledge and viewpoints, and hence are better able to arrive at creative solutions and solve complex problems (Super et al., 2016; Thayer et al., 2018). Also, autonomy in decision-making and structuring enhances adaptability to unforeseen changes (Rico et al., 2020). For this reason, self-managed teams are increasingly appreciated as a source of creativity and innovation (Grab et al., 2019; Sung & Choi, 2012).

The term "self-managed teams" (SMT) indicates a composed group of individuals who self-regulate their group's behavior and performance (Renkema et al., 2020). An intrinsic and requisite component of any SMT is team autonomy (Magpili & Pazos, 2018). Because of team autonomy, members of SMT’s experience an increased sense of responsibility and intrinsic motivation and are more willing to experiment. These constructs are, in turn, associated with the generation of novel ideas (Dedahanov et al., 2017; Fay et al., 2015). Therefore, several anecdotal cases praise the utilization of SMT’s as a management practice to increase creativity, and consequently, innovation performance. Also, empirical research confirms that, while dealing with innovation, SMT’s perform better than teams with an alternative structure (Kaplan et al., 2009; Moe et al., 2008; Patanakul et al., 2012; Rico et al., 2020). Furthermore, the self- management of teams is a vital principle of agile project management practices, in which creativity and innovation are paramount when anticipating the organization’s dynamic


increasing popularity over the past decades and are proven to incite substantial performance benefits, the installment of SMT’s is further endorsed (Rigby et al., 2018). Nonetheless, merely organizing a firm in self-managing units does not automatically increase the firm’s agility, creativity, or innovation. If handled inappropriately, SMT’s may even be ineffective (Moe et al., 2010). Factors such as an appropriate interpersonal climate and communication systems function as contingencies for SMT performance (Rousseau & Aubé, 2010; Williams et al., 2010). To reap the benefits of SMT’s, firms must thus be highly selective in how and when this practice is applied (Morantz, 2020). By this means, this research hopes to provide valuable insight into why some SMT’s are more creative and innovative than others, and one should interpret the appropriateness of these contingencies.

Creativity encompasses the generation of novel and useful ideas and is commonly considered as the initial stage of innovation, which involves the implementation of these ideas (Acar et al., 2019; Serrat, 2017; van Knippenberg, 2017). Rather than creativity being a unitary activity, it typically involves a process with a set of stages (Paulus et al., 2012). Nonetheless, it remains inconclusive what exactly these stages are. For instance, Perry-Smith & Mannucci (2017) reason that creativity consists of four phases: Idea generation, idea elaboration, idea championing, and idea implementation. On the other hand, Bledow et al. (2009) argue the sole existence of two stages: exploration and exploitation. Though it is acknowledged that the latter stage should typically be considered part of the idea implementation and thus of innovation, Bledow et al. (2009) argue that these two stages are intertwined and should not be studied separately. In congruence with this reasoning, van Knippenberg (2017) infers that the desire of scholars to limit creativity to idea generation is barely met, as many creativity measures highly


In his review on team creativity and innovation, van Knippenberg (2017) explores two common perspectives within the team creativity and innovation literature: the knowledge integration perspective and the team climate perspective. Research following the former air argues that creativity is induced by combining and accumulating viewpoints and information (Akcigit et al., 2018; Forés & Camisón, 2016; van Knippenberg, 2017). The latter perspective, team climate, reasons that creativity and innovation flow from certain perceptions of atmosphere. A team climate can be defined as: “The way things are done around here” and often contains both descriptive and normative elements (van Knippenberg, 2017). Several scholars stipulate that the concept of climate should be applied to a particular referent (i.e., a climate for service or a climate for creativity) (Anderson & West, 1998; Hunter, 2007;

Schneider & Reichers, 1983). A team climate for creativity, which is the focus of the current study, is constituted of various fundamental factors that influence an individual’s and team’s creative behavior (Hunter, 2007; Liang et al., 2010; West & Sacramento, 2012). West (1990) was the first to propose four of those factors: (1) participation safety, (2) support for innovation, (3) task orientation, and (4) commitment to a shared vision. After, many studies have enlarged the framework above by adding factors such as (5) reflexivity and (6) conflict, and (7) participation in decision-making (Ekvall, 1996; Hunter, 2007; Schippers et al., 2010).

Furthermore, some academics state that an organizational climate taxonomy has multiple facets: an affective, a cognitive, and an instrumental facet. By facets, they imply a higher-order classification of climate variables (Carr et al., 2003). The affective facet relates to social relations among employees, whereas the cognitive facet predominantly concerns individual psychological involvement. Ultimately, the instrumental facet relates to getting things done in the organization (Carr et al., 2003; Ostroff, 1993). In their meta-review, Carr et al. (2003) classified numerous climate factors mentioned in preceding literature on the subject, like the factors discussed earlier of West (1990), among the affective and cognitive facets. By


this virtue, “participation safety,” “conflict,” and “participation in decision-making” are categorized under affective facets. Furthermore, “reflexivity,” “commitment to a shared vision,” “task orientation,” and “support for innovation” are linked to the cognitive facet (Carr et al., 2003). However, none of the factors of West (1990) are categorized among the instrumental facet, which conveys the impression that the instrumental facet is specifically applicable to an organizational climate rather than a team climate (i.e., factors described within this facet are rewards-promotions and training).

Although Carr et al. (2003) and Ostroff (1993) have researched cognitive and affective facets in the context of an organization, a remarkable gap in the literature exists in the utilization of these facets while exploring a team climate context or concerning climate outcomes, like creativity. Reiter-Palmon et al. (2012) distinguish social from cognitive team processes while studying team creativity but barely consider non-procedural, defining factors of a team’s climate. Sung et al. (2018) reason that previous research on team creativity predominantly focuses on affective mechanisms underlying a climate for creativity. Yet, their study only sheds light on the cognitive variables and disregards its distinction with- or relation to affective variables. Hence, the difference between cognitive and affective facets of a team climate is understated in current literature. However, these facets may look significantly different in relation to particular climate referents like creativity, or team climate antecedents.

For instance, relatively little is known about whether the factors that constitute team climate for creativity factors would look different for SMT’s. Team autonomy may be a double- edged sword in association with a team climate for creativity: It possibly has adverse or stimulating inferences for both cognitive and affective facets and its underlying factors. For


members, it has a damaging effect on affective factors, such as participation safety (Gupta et al., 2017; Khan et al., 2015). Also, the absence of supervision in SMT’s triggers the manifestation of peer control (Magpili & Pazos, 2018). Peer control may inhibit participation safety by exerting peer pressure (Magpili & Pazos, 2018; Rolfsen & Langeland, 2012). This pressure also possibly elicits the need for conformity and the phenomena of groupthink, where members experience a drive for consensus that suppresses disagreement and prevents the evaluation of alternatives (Ottaviani & Sørensen, 2001). Groupthink, in turn, may restrain support for innovation, a cognitive team climate factor (George & Hinkes, 2016; West &

Sacramento, 2012; Xie et al., 2020).

On the contrary, adopting reflecting practices in agile working methods could suggest that team autonomy gives rise to cognitive factors such as reflexivity (Przybilla et al., 2018).

Yet, research on cognitive factors in a team climate for creativity, especially concerning SMT’s, remains scarce. Hence, those scholars who did consider the matter suggest that further research should be devoted to exploring what other cognitive factors exactly are part of a climate for creativity and what triggers these processes (Reiter-Palmon et al., 2012; Sung et al., 2018).

To conclude, the current body of literature on team creativity leaves a dearth of insights that raises the following questions: What factors constitute a team climate that enhances creativity? How could the roles of these factors be understood, using the taxonomy of Carr et al. (2003) and Ostroff (1993)? And how are these cognitive and affective factors affected by the self-managed structuring of SMT’s?

Therefore, this research hopes to unravel what precisely the influence of team autonomy on team climate is. For this purpose, this study sets to discover the effects of team autonomy on both affective and cognitive factors. Hence, in the execution of this research, the following


research question should provide guidance: "How do Self-Managed Teams stimulate team creativity, through affective and cognitive climate facets?”

The theoretical contributions that this study wishes to make are threefold. First, this study aspires to elaborate upon the team climate for creativity theory of West & Sacramento (2012) by exploring which climate factors constitute a climate of creativity and discover whether certain aspects are inadequately addressed. Second, this study desires to understand how the organizational climate taxonomy, as described in the studies of Carr et al. (2003) and Ostroff (1993), could be applied to a team climate of creativity. Third, this study hopes to contribute to current literature on the implications of utilizing SMT’s by discovering the influence of team autonomy on a team climate's affective and cognitive factors and, eventually, team creativity.

Eventually, these theoretical contributions ought to result in functional, practical implications. First, managers would presumably comprehend what affective and cognitive factors and variables must be triggered to realize and increase creativity amongst SMT’s in their organization. Second, the accelerated speed of change requires a more dynamic and creative system, which could be achieved by installing agile SMT’s. Regardless, a qualitative study on transitioning to agile ways of working inferred that “learning how to guide SMT’s” is one of the foremost challenges for organizations (Hekkala et al., 2017). Therefore, the outcomes of the current study could conceivably offer relevant guidance for those bureaucratically structured organizations that desire to transition to agile structures and experience complications with the hazard mentioned above.


2. Literature review

2.1. Self-Managed Teams

The current body of literature uses the terms “self-managed,” “self-organized,” or “self- directed” teams interchangeably. Each refers to teams with three inherent characteristics, as initially identified by Cummings (1978): (1) the team carries responsibility for an entire task, (2) team members each possess skills relevant to the accomplishment of this task, and (3) in the process of accomplishing this task, the team autonomously arranges decision-making and performance management (Renkema et al., 2018; Weerheim et al., 2019).

SMT’s have already received academic interest for a vast amount of time, yet their practical application in organizations has only just become increasingly prevalent (Markova &

Perry, 2014; Martela, 2019). As a result, both scholar and practitioner literature gradually highlight success stories featuring firms like Zappos and Airbnb and their approach to incorporating SMT’s (Botsman & Capelin, 2016; Lee & Edmondson, 2017). For empirically sound reasons, these successful corporations adopt SMT’s in their organizational design: On an individual level, the self-management of teams is meant to enhance effectiveness and commitment (Monteiro et al., 2011). Simultaneously, SMT’s ought to improve team- and organizational productivity and performance (Parker et al., 2015; Renkema et al., 2020).

Furthermore, the industry-wide embracement of SMT’s in creative industries insinuates that organizational creativity also bounds to increase as a consequence (Cerneviciute & Strazdas, 2018; Hodgson & Briand, 2013).

Autonomy is considered the key differentiating feature between SMT’s and traditionally managed teams (Williams et al., 2010). Job autonomy refers to the extent to which employees have the freedom and independence to schedule work, make decisions and choose methods to perform tasks (Dysvik & Kuvaas, 2011, p. 367). Mierlo et al. (2006) argue that team


team-level equivalent of job autonomy. In congruence, Williams et al. (2010) infer that pro- activity mediates the relationship between team autonomy and the ensuing creativity and performance since this also holds for the individual autonomy equivalent. Other scholars, however, do contemplate job autonomy to be distinct from team autonomy. Indeed, independence and freedom to make decisions are also implied at a team level, yet team members still deal with inherent interdependence. This interdependence involves team processes that are distinct for team autonomy instead of job autonomy, such as leadership emergence and opinion compliance (Langfred, 2013; Markova & Perry, 2014). Not surprisingly, scholars studying team autonomy as a distinct concept shed light on other mediators of the autonomy-creativity/performance relationship, such as alterations in traditional work processes and reduced managerial constraints, but also motivation (Chen et al., 2015; Cordery et al., 2010).

Despite the success stories of Airbnb, Zappos, and other businesses in the creative industry, one must not mistakenly conclude that the organizational implementation of SMT’s will induce increased performance, productivity, and creativity (Martin, 2019; Monteiro et al., 2011). Obstacles affecting autonomous teams' performance and their mediating mechanisms tend to arise from multiple sources. First, organizations may presume that the decentralization of decision-making involves too much risk, causing managerial resistance (Parker et al., 2015).

Second, the regulatory responsibilities of a supervisor in conventional organizational structures, which involve problem-solving, planning, and monitoring of performance, have been forwarded towards the self-managed team members (Renkema et al., 2020). At its worst, this delegated responsibility gives rise to (the avoidance of) conflict, groupthink, decreased


from the ambiguity in responsibilities and roles require individual emotional stability and intelligence, or personal functioning may lack (Paik et al., 2019).

In conclusion, SMT’s are distinct from traditionally managed teams since SMT’s are characterized by team autonomy. SMT’s however, still cope with the integral interdependence between team members. Therefore, SMT’s, as opposed to traditionally managed teams, face other potential menaces, such as role ambiguity and managerial resistance, which might affect the team’s performance.


2.2. Team Creativity

Scholars and practitioners appraise team creativity as a prerequisite for successful contemporary organizations (Aggarwal & Woolley, 2019; Bledow et al., 2009; Somech &

Drach-Zahavy, 2013). Therefore, it is problematic that, despite its indispensability, relatively little is known about team creativity. This dearth of knowledge partially owes that researchers strongly focus on individual creativity or brainstorming, representing only fractions of the team creativity construct (Aggarwal & Woolley, 2019). For instance, measurement of creativity is repeatedly raised as a shortcoming in individual creativity literature, let alone in studies on team creativity (Batey, 2012; Said-Metwaly et al., 2017).

Before deliberating on its measurement, it is vital first to understand how creativity is defined. Scholars are mainly unanimous about the inclusion of the “novelty,” and “usefulness”

attributes in the definition of creativity (Batey, 2012; Mumford, 2003; van Knippenberg, 2017).

These attributes are primarily used as part of a product-oriented approach, implying that the creativity of individuals and teams is assessed based on the novelty and usefulness of the outputs (Batey, 2012; Mumford, 2003). However, this is deemed non-comprehensive, as one could also attribute creativity to, besides products, processes, people, or press (the environment). Jointly, these four domains are referred to as the 4 P’s (Batey, 2012; Rhodes, 1987). The existence of these domains has led to Batey (2012) advocating the appropriateness of a multi-componential model of creativity and corresponding measures.

As a result, the heuristic framework for creativity measurement of Batey (2012, p. 59) is developed and contains three dimensions. The primary dimension, the assessed aspect, refers to what is analyzed. Four elements are distinguished, where each reflects one of the 4 P’s


ultimate dimension, the measurement approach, discusses how to assess creativity. Creativity may be measured objectively or subjectively, where subjective measures are generally subdivided into self-ratings or arbitrator-ratings of creativity (Batey, 2012; Park et al., 2016).

Further, these measures vary for the different Ps and the different levels of analyses (Batey, 2012). Nonetheless, researchers do not seem to have reached accordance while discussing how these measures would vary between the individual and team level of analyses:

Certain scholars, among which Batey (2012), stipulate that one could measure team creativity as an aggregate of the creativity of individual team members (Pirola-Merlo & Mann, 2004;

Taggar, 2002). Nonetheless, Jain et al. (2015) infer that team creativity should not be measured nor described as a simple summative of the creative contributions of individuals. Likewise, Jiang & Zhang (2014) highlight multiple respects in which individual creativity diverges from team creativity: First, teams can better achieve large-scale creative ideas because of the various thinking styles and knowledge stock. Second, as opposed to the individual process, the team process of arriving at those creative ideas requires interactions. These interactions are shaped by members collaboratively contributing and building upon each other’s perspectives, knowledge, and thinking styles (Jain et al., 2015; Jiang & Zhang, 2014). Moreover, the enaction of these interactions is shaped and stimulated by a team climate for creativity (Isaksen & Lauer, 2002; Leung & Wang, 2015).

Returning to the motion of team creativity measurement, this study contemplates that the aggregation of individual measures to derive a degree of team creativity is too reductive.


2.3. Self-Managed Teams and Creativity

Although many scholars substantiate the significance of autonomy for individual creativity (e.g., Chang et al., 2012; Liu et al., 2010), research on the influence of self-managing team structuring on creativity remains relatively scarce. Also, since team creativity is not merely a summation of each team member’s creativity (Jain et al., 2015), one could not simply deduce that team autonomy must hence be significant for team creativity. Some studies examine the conditions under which SMT’s would be more productive (Elmuti, 1997; Zárraga & Bonache, 2005), yet focused on knowledge integration outcomes rather than creativity or innovation outcomes. Muthusamy et al. (2005) were first to shed light on this gap: While their research infers that SMT’s offer a solution for the design of innovation strategies due to an increased extent of communication, increased cognitive variety, and increased member commitment, they still pronounce that further research needed to be conducted to comprehend the exact impact of a self-managed structuring on team creativity/innovativeness. Furthermore, the rise of agile management practices further endorses the need to understand effective inter-team mechanisms to foster creativity/innovation (Stray et al., 2018).

In recent years, published research examined what attributes individual team members should possess for SMT’s to be creative. These outcomes suggest that team member extraversion and consciousness consistency would increase team innovation (den Hartog et al., 2020). Furthermore, scholars have also explored related constructs such as “shared leadership”

and its relationship with creativity. These scholars insinuate that shared leadership provides a creative license for team members through a sense that contributions are valued and through autonomy provision (Ali et al., 2020). However, both studies seem oblivious to conditional


2.4. Team Climate for Creativity

While studying a team climate, most scholars adhere to the definition of Schneider (1990, p.

384), who defines climate as “the shared perception of the atmosphere created by events, practices, procedures, and rewards within a team” (e.g., Kiratli et al., 2016; van Knippenberg, 2017; West & Sacramento, 2012). Furthermore, empirical evidence insinuates that a team climate is related to, and thus may inhibit or encourage, team performance and creativity (González‐Romá et al., 2009; Yoo, 2015).

Though scholars agree that the appropriate team climate is vital for performance outcomes, the relevant literature diverges while discussing the composition of the construct and its junction with “team processes.” The contrasting inferences resemble those of a “what was first, the chicken or the egg?” discussion: Some argue that a team climate for creativity is a situational variable that brings about team interaction processes (Paulus et al., 2012; van Esch et al., 2016; West & Sacramento, 2012). On the contrary, Açıkgöz et al. (2014) suggest that interactions will influence team member’s perception of one’s work environment. Hence, they consider a team’s decision-making processes to be antecedents, rather than consequences, of a team climate for creativity. Since this research focuses on a team climate specifically, it is paramount to understand the liaison between team processes and team climate and subsequently demarcate the scope of this research.

As elaborated on by Kozlowski & Klein (2012), the concept of emergence gives every appearance of being a confluence of the two distinct constructs. A phenomenon is emergent when it instigates in an individual’s cognition and affect, is amplified by interaction, and manifests at a higher level, collective phenomenon. Here, the individual’s cognition and affect denote the elemental content, whereas interaction denotes team processes (Kozlowski & Klein, 2012). González-Romá & Hernández (2014) argue that team climate is an emergent phenomenon, implying that team processes are an inherent feature of a team climate(Antoni


& Hertel, 2009; Mundt et al., 2016; van Knippenberg, 2017). Similarly, Antoni & Hertel (2009) argue that the factors of a team’s climate could be perceived as team processes, as team climate scales also address behavioral interactions and patterns.

What the fundamental factors for a team climate exactly tend to be distinctive for the considered domain: a team climate for safety may, for instance, insist on compliance of operating procedures, whereas a team climate for creativity may encourage risk-taking (Hunter, 2007; West & Richter, 2011). Among several studies affiliated with team creativity and innovativeness, West (1990) found four consistently reappearing factors: (1) A shared vision;

referring to a joint higher-order, motivating goal, (2) participative safety; referring to involvement in decision-making and a non-threatening interpersonal sense, (3) task orientation;

referring to the shared concern of excellence in task executions, and (4) support for innovation;

referring to the expectation, encouragement and approval of efforts to introduce novelty. By reporting significant mean correlations with team innovation, Hülsheger et al. (2009) were among the many to confirm each of these factors to be significant for a team climate for creativity. Though the four factors of West (1990) are most prevalent and most commonly validated in team creativity literature, the vast array of team climate for creativity models insinuates that the four-factor theory is by no means exhaustive. These other models frequently emerge from different perspective-taking. For instance, Amabile et al. (1996) grounded their eight-dimensional climate model in the theory of intrinsic motivation. In this theory, the following eight dimensions were involved: (1) Organizational encouragement, (2) supervisory encouragement, (3) work group supports, (4) freedom, (5) sufficient resources, (6) challenging work, (7) workload pressure and (8) organizational impediments. Additionally, Ekvall (1996)


time. Despite these two scholars studying an organizational climate rather than a team climate for creativity, West himself has augmented his four-factor theory by incorporating additional factors identified by these other scholars, namely conflict, participation in decision-making, and reflexivity (West & Sacramento, 2012).

Nonetheless, since the constitutional theories of a team climate for creativity date back to the late past century (i.e., Amabile et al., 1996; Anderson & West, 1998; Ekvall, 1996), some factors are presumably obsolete for SMT’s, which have only just recently become a prevalent management practice. Hence, fixation on these factors may defeat the exploratory purpose of this study. Instead, this study wishes to explore how an SMT climate for creativity is shaped in contemporary teams. To funnel this research, it follows suit of Carr et al. (2003) and Ostroff (1993), by distinguishing cognitive from affective climate factors. The cognitive facet contains factors that predominantly relate to the individual and its psychological involvement. On the other hand, the affective facet includes aspects that concern interpersonal/social relationships among employees (Carr et al., 2003).

While measuring a team climate, researchers frequently experience difficulties distinguishing individual perceptions from actual team attributes of climate (Kozlowski &

Klein, 2012; Naylor et al., 2013). If one attempts to interpret the climate of any given team by simply utilizing the perceptions of an individual team member, one risks obtaining a biased or inconsistent conclusion (Allard-poesi, 1998). Kozlowski & Klein (2012) emphasize the critical role of team processes that facilitate climate emergence to alleviate measurement difficulties.

Since these interactions reduce the variability in individuals’ perceptions of a team climate, they promote common understandings. In correspondence, Naylor et al. (2013) state that the foundation of a team climate is an anthropomorphic process: “an individual judgment process involved in attributing a class of traits to an entity outside the individual, where this entity may


be a workgroup” (p. 254). Hence, these scholars argue that an individual team member’s perception can be deemed evocative.

In contrast, González-Romá & Hernández (2014) resolve measurement issues through involving “climate strength” in the discussion. Climate strength refers to the degree of within- team agreement among member’s climate perceptions. Hence, climate attributes are more prevalent the more members agree on them. This latter resolution should reduce subjectivity and is consequently regarded as more robust.

In conclusion, a team climate is a phenomenon emerging from a combination of (1) an individual’s cognition and affect and (2) team processes or interactions. Moreover, although some scholars argue that climate is an anthropomorphic phenomenon and thus can be measured through individual perceptions, this research has chosen to reduce bias by incorporating climate strength, measured by paralleling multiple team members' perceptions.


3. Methodology

3.1. Research Design

To answer the drafted research question, qualitative research is conducted. Qualitative analysis comprises an interpretive, naturalistic approach: The researcher attempts to understand a phenomenon in its natural setting by interpreting the meaning people ascribe to it (Davies &

Hughes, 2014). Qualitative studies often follow an inductive approach, which starts with observations and measures and builds theory by interpreting observed patterns and regularities (Saunders, 2012; Trochim et al., 2015).

This qualitative study has both a descriptive and exploratory purpose. Studies with a descriptive purpose aim to portray an accurate profile of events or situations (Saunders, 2012).

Considering the current study, the researcher desires to comprehensively illustrate a “team- climate for creativity” by elaborating on both cognitive and affective facets. Conversely, exploratory research seeks new insights by reassessing a phenomenon in a different environment (Saunders, 2012). To date, little research has been devoted to the creative team climate of SMT’s, which is the exploratory intention of the current study (Paulus et al., 2012).

The conduction of case studies is believed to be an applicable research method for multiple reasons. First, case studies are often utilized in exploratory and descriptive research, as they allow to deepen understanding of concepts and processes (Woodside, 2010). Second, as stated by Yin (2009, p. 15): “case studies are generalizable to theoretical propositions, not populations,” which denote the applicability of this method in inductive studies. Ultimately, case studies are appropriate if the study examines a phenomenon, such as a team climate, in natural conditions, where the researcher cannot influence the setting (Yin, 2009). This distinguishes a case study from a social experiment, where one can manipulate the participants' behavior.


A multiple case study will be conducted to allow for case comparisons and generalizations (Gustafsson, 2017; Kilpatrick et al., 2012; Yin, 2009). Because this research aspires to contribute to the current body of literature on teamwork, teams are regarded as the focal unit of analysis (Yin, 2009). Furthermore, though one would infer that this study has a single unit of analysis (all cases analyzed would concern teams), this study will involve multiple units. The team members represent the embedded sub-units of analysis, which allows for more detail and less abstractum. These factors mentioned above would make this study an embedded, multiple case study (Yin, 2009).


3.2. Research Setting

The research setting, referring to the context, environment, and logistics of the research, may influence the means of execution of the study and its outcomes (Majid, 2018). The context of this research is the internet and, (digital) advertisement and marketing industry, for two reasons: 1) Creativity plays a vital role in the development of innovative (digital) marketing programs and website/app design (Andrews & Smith, 1996; Lawrence & Tavakol, 2006), and 2) because this vigorous role is acknowledged by the employees of (digital) marketing agencies, reminiscing creative efforts happens much more naturally. Moreover, with an eye toward external validity, the researcher chose to select three agencies that vary in size and firm age (Saunders, 2012). Table 3.1. provides insights on the demographics of these organizations, which’ names have been veiled for discretion purposes.

Firm Industry No. of


Year of establishment

Org. structure

DA Internet, (digital) marketing, advertising

+/- 2000 1996 Decentralized

GA (digital) marketing &


+/- 80 2008 Decentralized

NC Internet,

(digital) marketing

+/- 160 2014 Decentralized

Table 3.1.: Demographic information on firms included in this study

Besides, this study is executed amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, which potentially damages this study’s external validity: Teamwork likely looks significantly different from the pre-or post- pandemic conditions, as collaboration and communication between team members transpire (partly) via digital channels. Secondly, the covid-19 pandemic also forces the researcher to conduct online interviews and observations, which conceivably threatens the study’s reliability (Saunders, 2012).


3.3. Data Collection

Data is collected from ten interviews, which were conducted in May 2021. As specified by González-Romá & Hernández (2014), the strength of a team climate depends upon the degree of within-unit agreement on team climate variables. Therefore, two subunits of analysis, being team members, were taken from each examined case, being (self-managed) teams.

Accordingly, five separate cases, spread across three firms, have been observed. Although all three included firms have a flat, decentralized organizational structure, the analyzed instances are not necessarily entirely autonomous. Two types of teams have been observed: (1) teams in which all team members have equal seniority (fully autonomous/SMT’s) and (2) teams that consist of one or more junior members and one or more senior/lead members (semi- autonomous). An overview of the features of each case is given in table 3.2.

Firm No.

of case

Case Worked together for:

Autonomy type

Interviewees Age Years at firm

Gender Duration interview (min:sec)

No. of interview


1 CX &


Three months

Semi- autonomous

UX-Designer 38 3-5 years Male 38:02 1a Lead Visual


29 5-10 years

Female 57:50 1b

2 Brand, campaigns, and content

Two years Semi- autonomous

Junior Copywriter 29 3-5 years Male 33:56 2a Creative director

(functions as senior in the team)

37 3-5 years Male 49:02 2b


3 CX &


2-3 months Semi- autonomous

Junior UX-designer 24 >1 year Female 39:22 3a Lead Visual

Designer &


43 1-3 years Male 42:36 3b

GA 4 Brand, campaigns, and content

Two years Autonomous/


Art director 62 3-5 years Male 46:32 4a Copywriter 58 1-3 years Female 26:55 4b

5 Brand, campaigns, and content

1,5 years Autonomous/


Art Director 36 5-10 years

Male 24:55 5a

Creative 33 1-3 years Male 31:22 5b


Data is collected through the conduction of semi-structured interviews. These types of interviews comprise guided conversations with a list of themes and questions that have to be covered, yet without a formally structured protocol (Trochim et al., 2015; Yin, 2009). Semi- structuring is paramount since case study research yields optimal results when data collection is not routinized and when the collection of data continuously interacts with theory (Yin, 2009).

These interviews were utilized to understand team members' and supervisors’ perceptions and opinions of the team’s climate and its role in the team’s creative output. Interviews are thus beneficial as they immediately focus on the studied topic (Yin, 2009). The interview questions are predominantly focused on a team’s climate cognitive and affective facets. Questions categorized among the affective facet relate to the interviewees’ perception of the team’s social relations, while cognitive facet questions focus on individual psychological involvement (Carr et al., 2003). All interviews will, upon agreement, be recorded, transcribed, and verified for accuracy by the interviewee/herself (Saunders, 2012).


3.4. Data Analysis

The interviews were uploaded onto the software NVivo 1.4.1., which was employed to conduct the analysis. NVivo 1.4.1. allowed the researcher for fastidious coding of individual cases and facilitated the examination of cross-case similarities and differences. After generating five cases for the ten semi-structured interviews, the qualitative data were analyzed using an inductive, generative approach (Miles & Huberman, 1994). Please refer to appendix 7.1. for a summary of each interview.

The data analysis approach of Gioia et al. (2013) is deemed appropriate for this research since it assists in the discovery of concepts that better capture an organizational phenomenon rather than refining existing constructs. Their approach follows three consecutive stages. The first stage (also referred to as the 1’st-order analysis) considers each case independently and assigns codes which’ titles faithfully adhere to the exact words of interviewees' (Gioia et al., 2013). The first stage resulted in 85 1’st-order codes. By utilizing open coding, one examines notions or event similarities and differences. Subsequently, these 85 codes are reduced to a more manageable number of categories (Corbin & Strauss, 1990). Phrasal descriptors were given to these categories, which resulted in the first-order concept as represented in figure 3.2.

In the second stage, one formulates second-order themes by assessing whether the first-order categories may have referent perspectives in the existing literature (Gioia et al., 2013). Here, the researcher endeavors to find connections between the categories, also referred to as axial coding (Kendall, 1999). Ultimately, the second-order themes are further distilled in overarching aggregate dimensions (Gioia et al., 2013). Figure 3.1. displays a schematic overview of the data analysis process.


Figure 3.1. Schematic overview of data analysis according to method of Gioia et al. (2013)


As earlier described, the analyzed cases vary in type of autonomy and self-management accordingly. Ergo, a variable-oriented comparative analysis is conducted: commonalities and discrepancies among cases for each 2nd order theme, as given in figure 3.1., are analyzed and described in section 4. This analysis expectantly reveals if the self-managing structure is explicable for these discrepancies or if other variables or many factors have superior explanatory power (Della Porta & Keating, 2008; Khan & VanWynsberghe, 2008).

Furthermore, variable-oriented comparative analysis intents to establish generalized relationships between variables, whereas case-oriented comparative analysis desires to understand complex units (Della Porta & Keating, 2008). Since this research also wishes to explore potential mechanisms between the different climate variables and facets, this type of comparative analysis is deemed more appropriate than case-oriented comparative analysis.


4. Results

The analysis of the qualitative data resulting from the semi-structured interviews has led to the emergence of three aggregate dimensions: (1) Team member emotions, (2) Team member manner of processing information, (3) Normative interpersonal behavior. Although the methodological approach that has led to the emergence of these dimensions may be well- executed and -substantiated, Gioia et al. (2013) argue that this hardly matters if the theory is not narrated in an intellectually compelling manner. Thus, the remainder of this chapter will cross-compare cases while adhering to the structure of the aggregate dimensions. The chapter will proceed as follows: Subsections 4.1., 4.2., 4.3. will elaborate on the resemblances or disparities between the cases on each aggregate dimension (Please refer to appendix 7.2. for an extensive summative overview of viewpoints of each case on each aggregate dimension and corresponding second-order themes). Subsection 4.4 will elaborate on the configuration between these aggregate dimensions and second-order themes, and Subsection 4.5. will explore what the influence of self-managed structuring of teams is on that configuration. To validate data-to-theory connections, elaborations, and explorations in each chapter are supported by a selection of the numerous direct quotations of interviewees (Gioia et al., 2013).


4.1. Team Member Emotions

Team cohesion

The first emerging theme is team cohesion, which refers to an individuals’ feeling of being a valued integral part of a team and their closeness with the other team members. It hence serves as an umbrella term for “pride,” “togetherness,” “interpersonal liking,” “non-professional connection,” and “a common sense of humor.” Each interviewee referred to one or more facades of team cohesion, implying that the cases unanimously agree that this second-order theme is a fundamental aspect of a team climate for creativity. A remark of interviewee 2b demonstrates that such team cohesion is meaningful:

“Our clients also notice that sense of togetherness. They agree that cooperation that comes from this sense is much more important for the entire ideation process than some well-known

creatives who do it individually.”

Furthermore, the interviewees indicate several reasons why team cohesion is vital for the ideation process. First, interviewee 1b states that interpersonal liking and chemistry ensure mutual understanding and anticipation:

“Icebreakers allow you to get to know your team members in a different, non-professional

manner. For example, one colleague has four children. It makes you think: “How is he able to manage that with his job?” (…) Afterward, I understand what my team members need.”

Secondly, other interviewees’, like interviewee 3b, state that non-professional connection eases professional communication:

“I think it’s important that, while you’re brainstorming in a room together, you can also talk about other things than just work. I think that eases your work.”


“Creativity fuels from crazy or unexpected perspectives, and these, in turn, derive from


A common sense of humor is, on the other hand, not at all highlighted by the remaining two cases, which operate in the field of UX and Design. Hence, one could infer that humor's importance is associated with the typology of creative output one expects the team to deliver.

Also, the results highlight that such team cohesion is activated by celebrating successes and, even more frequently mentioned, granting credit for ideas to the entire team instead of granting recognition to the individuals who may have initially suggested the idea. Many interviewees made comments affiliated with the following statement of interviewee 5a:

“It does not matter who came up with the initial idea. We never even mention that to each

other, let alone to others. Because in the end, an idea is always made by the entire team.”

Participation safety

“Discussing ideas is a very delicate process, in which one is very vulnerable. I remember that the first time I had to do that, I was terrified. You have to say: “Well, I thought we could maybe do this!” (…) If someone then says: “No, I think that’s stupid,” you instantly freeze.”

This quotation of interviewee 4b hints at the prevalence of participation safety in a team climate for creativity. Participation safety refers to the feeling of being safe to propose new ideas (Anderson & West, 1998), and relates to “trust,” “feeling at ease,” and “psychological safety.”

While the citation of interviewee 4b concerns feeling safe to propose ideas, participation safety also concerns feeling safe to express doubts. Demonstratively, Interviewee 2a says:

“The moment that one person felt comfortable to state that the idea did not appeal to him, which was a deviating opinion, others also started to express doubts.”

These two citations insinuate that feeling psychologically safe triggers, and is triggered by, behavioral norms: “team member support” and “transparency.” This linkage is further discovered in paragraph four of this chapter.


Also, it has become apparent that semi-autonomous teams act differently from autonomous groups in this regard. As indicated by interviewee 1b (a senior in a semi-autonomous team), seniors in a team feel the need to safeguard participation safety:

“Sometimes, I notice that people are reluctant to share their opinion, possibly out of fear. It’s then my task to indicate that this isn’t a healthy atmosphere.”

For SMT’s, psychological safety must be obtained differently. Although the interviewees of the fully autonomous cases indicate that they feel psychologically safe within their team, this must develop over time and is not guaranteed to transpire. Interviewee 4b states:

“In past teams, I sometimes did not dare to be honest about the work of my teammates, so

then I just did not say anything. I must say that I was younger and less confident then.”

The above citation insinuates that confidence and assertiveness ought to become increasingly important in the absence of participation safety.

(Shared) Confidence

This study highlights the significance of (shared) confidence in a team climate for creativity, which here refers to someone’s belief in his/her ability (hence shared is deliberately written in parathesis) and the team's skills. It thus involves remarks that are associated with confidence and team potency. The results convey the impression that (shared) confidence triggers team member support. Illustratively, interviewee 4b states:

“Sometimes, the ideation process reaches low points when you can’t possibly see how you’re

going to think of anything creative. But I always try to remind myself and others that we will think of something and that this fear is not realistic.”

In light of this research, (shared) confidence does, however, not merely relate to belief in


designated to safeguard participation safety. After asking a follow-up question to interviewee 4b on how he handled the situation of not daring to be honest about the work of his teammates (described in the last citation of the paragraph on participation safety), he answered:

“It was up to our creative director, who was not part of our team, to decide and to be honest about the quality. (…) I realize that this is not a fair thing to do.”

The answer demonstrates that, if team members do not have (shared) confidence, it influences normative behavior: transparency is inhibited, and conflict management is complicated.


4.2. Team Member Manner of Information Processing

Task Orientation

“Great ideas are those that improve the user experience, contribute to our client’s business goals, and are unique and original” (Interviewee 1b)

The first cognitive facet that became apparent from the data is task orientation: “the shared concern of excellence in task executions” (Anderson & West, 1998). The preceding quotation indicates that the tasks of the interviewed cases are centered around the encouragement and introduction of novel and useful ideas, which hints towards the fact that support for innovation and risk-taking are also considered part of task orientation.

While the prevalence of task orientation as part of a team’s climate emerged from each case, there seems to be a significant discrepancy between semi- and fully autonomous teams on task orientation is expressed. The data suggest that for semi-autonomous teams, senior team members take on a rather supervisory role. For example, in the semi-autonomous teams, one of the senior interviewees’, interviewee 2b, commented:

“To be creative, you should be able to approach something from various angles (…). This

manner of thinking is hard to learn, but it starts with being around the right people, who ask the right questions and show how it’s done.”

Additionally, senior interviewee 3b commented:

“Sometimes you have too many opinions, and then it’s like: “(…) This is what we are going

to do because that’s what I’ve decided” – It’s always a kind of a democratic process, but you do need people that have the deciding vote.”

Coherently, the interviews reveal that juniors thereupon embrace a more submissive role: they


“Senior creatives often have a creative frame of reference in mind that they use to assess the

output of the team.”

However, one should not infer that the junior in semi-autonomous teams always consents to seniors. At times, juniors act according to norms that resemble SMT’s: observe others and keeping each other focused. This could be exemplified by the similarity of two quotations: one of interviewee 1a (junior of a semi-autonomous team):

“The fact that you’re working in a team determines the quality level of the team’s output. You

should keep each other focused, and that way, the quality will be higher.”

and one of interviewee 5b (member of an SMT’s):

“We’re often critical of each other's work. This way, we keep each other sharp.”

In line with the preceding, it is debatable whether the presence of seniors to administer quality standards is a necessity, a redundancy, or maybe even an inhibitor of creativity, as juniors possibly exploit the reliance on seniors and no longer think for themselves.

Shared Vision

The second emerging cognitive theme, a shared vision, relates to team members' concordance and clarity about the pursuit of a project and the higher-order goals. To be creative, analyzed cases not only acknowledge the prominence of a shared vision from the instigation of the project onwards, but also underpin the significance of being attentive to everyone acting according to that shared vision. A comment of interviewee 3b embodies this:

“Sometimes people act out of other interests. If this takes too long to become apparent, it

takes up a lot of energy to battle this; energy you’d rather spend on the project.”

Furthermore, virtually all cases agree that teams should attain the configuration of such a shared vision through team consultation; every analyzed case seems to sympathize with the comment of interviewee 3a:

“We should determine the direction into which we're heading by discussing this together.”


It could, however, be debated whether the direction is determined through team consultation since interviewee 3a later indicates the following:

“In teams where there is no seniority difference, in which I have worked before, you have a say in the decisions made and the determined direction.”

Furthermore, the assurance of whether everyone adheres to this direction also seems to deviate between SMT’s and semi-autonomous teams. For semi-autonomous teams, seniors like interviewee 2b shoulder responsibility for guaranteeing that everyone is on the same wavelength regarding higher-order goals and the project’s pursuit:

“I think that the starting point of each project should be clarity about expectations. So, I always ask: “Does everyone get it?” If not, I will explain it one more time.”

In contrast, SMT members, like interviewee 4a, themselves would like to secure they understand the project’s pursuit:

“Last week, we started to work for a new client, and we told our account manager: “let us [the team] be part of the zoom meeting. That way, we get to know the client, and we all

understand what their needs are. This works particularly well for me.”

In like manner of task orientation, one could wonder whether the administering of understanding of the shared vision is redundant. Also, if seniors determine a vision, it is possibly not shared and could thus inhibit creativity. This is echoed by interviewee 1a:

“If we act according to a seniors’ opinion, the decisions are not widely held.”


Interviewee 2a: “To be creative, one needs to expose oneself to multiple experiences, like museums, movies, and life lessons in general. Because you never know when you need them.”


discovery phase or the diverging phase), teams intend to thoroughly understand the assignment and think of as many ideas as possible. Logically, openness is fundamental at these initial stages of creativity. Interviewee 3b explains how such ideation processes typically unfold through an anecdote:

“We had to design an innovative website for a client of ours, called Oak, a content marketing

agency. The central idea arose from asking questions and understanding the why: “Why is this company called Oak?” “Oak is a type of wood that comes from a tree, and a tree grows.” “They’re a marketing agency that helps people grow; why don’t we see this in their

website design?” That’s how ideas evolve, by being curious.”

Although openness predominantly refers to an individual’s cognition, it could be fueled by one’s surrounding team. Many interviewees indicated that within the entire creative- or design team (beyond the borders of a project team), creative content is constantly shared to inspire each other and trigger divergent thinking. Also, within a project team, two interviewees specifically emphasize the necessity to be appreciative and non-judgmental about weirdness:

“Extremely creative people tend to think in a bit of a twisted manner. Therefore, they could be hard to work with, but I personally always have faith in such people.”

The preceding citation hints toward a linkage between “openness” and an emotional variable:

“participation safety.” This association is further discovered in the fourth paragraph of this chapter.


4.3. Normative Interpersonal Behavior


Since each interviewee addressed at least one of the inherent topics of transparency (“open communication,” “honesty,” “visibility,” and “reflexivity”), this second-order theme is contemplated to be a normative element of a team climate of creativity. A quotation of interviewee 5b perfectly articulates what virtually every interviewee attempts to bring across:

“During the concept development phase, one needs to be verbally strong and be able to think

out loud, for others to supplement that initial idea.”

Moreover, the data indicates that transparency does not limit itself to verbal communication.

Certain interviewees suggest that they are particularly visual-oriented, and hence indicate that creativity also benefits from observing what co-workers are doing:

“When you’re in the office, which we haven’t been for a while now, you could easily check up

on each other’s work and provide quick feedback.” (Interviewee 4b)

“Don’t just talk about what you’re doing, but also show what you’re doing. We’re working digitally now, but I’d rather paste everything on a wall.” (interviewee 3b).

These two interviewees also indicate why the current Covid-19 circumstances are disadvantageous for a team’s creativity.

Nonetheless, certain interviewees describe that this transparency does not necessarily come naturally. Transparency and assertiveness or extraversion are often mentioned in the same breath. Interviewee 1a clarifies that assertiveness is a behavioral characteristic that does not necessarily make an individual more creative, but is vital for a team’s creativity:

“Sharing and asking for feedback is extremely important. Therefore, it is beneficial that you


Logically, interviewees link transparency to other second-order themes, such as participative safety and interpersonal liking. An elaboration on this connection is given in paragraph 4.4.


Each of the five cases mentioned that a certain extent of dynamism, or liveliness, which refers to the eventfulness of teamwork (Ekvall, 1996), prompts an individual and the team’s creativity. Also, the results reveal that eventfulness could be deciphered in two manners. First, groups are shown to benefit from a dynamic and eventful environment that they have formed for themselves. A dynamic environment corresponded to an alternation of different surroundings and people or alternations within that surrounding. I.e., interviewee 1b states:

“In the office, we often work in this space called a war room, in which you can draw on walls

and paste things on them. If you want teams to be creative, you need a space where people could just go crazy. Every time you step into a war room, you instantly get more creative.”

It appears that seniors in the team safeguard this manner of dynamism. Interviewee 2b (a senior team member), for instance, states:

“If I feel that the team needs it, I sometimes say: “Alright guys, let’s go outside and just do something fun and forget about this for a minute.”

Secondly, dynamism and liveliness could be decrypted as to the variety of tasks and autonomy in task execution. This aspect presumably differentiates SMT’s from semi-autonomous teams, as could be deferred from comment interviewee 3a (junior member of a semi-autonomous team):

“For smaller projects, we sometimes work with two juniors, which I prefer, because you’re

responsible for more aspects of the job and free to decide what you’re doing. (…) In a team with juniors and seniors, many tasks are taken from you, for you to focus on your tasks


This way of working contrasts with how interviewee 4a currently works (SMT member):


“Our team has full responsibility for all tasks, which means that I also have intakes with the client. These intakes help me to understand the client better.”

Conflict management

Several cases accredited the creativity of teams to conflict (management) among team members because it improves decision-making. This accreditation could be derived from the quotation of interviewee 2b and other quotes alike:

“You need people who oppose each other, yet who bring out the best in one another. So those

who dare to engage in conflict. And I don’t mean an actual argument. (…) Nothing gets any better if people continuously agree with each other”

However, it is remarked that conflicts among team members should purely be task-oriented, and that criticism should never be interpreted as a personal attack. Interviewee 3b reflects this remark by the undermentioned comment:

“You want an atmosphere where sometimes provoking things are said but where it isn’t taken

personally by anyone.”

Nonetheless, not every case endorses the assertion that conflict is beneficial for a team’s creativity: Some interviewees indicated that they rather avoid conflict or unnecessary confrontation. These interviewees emphasize with the annotation of interviewee 4a:

“For me, it wouldn’t work if someone is pushing my buttons to get the best out of me (…).

Other creatives may be blunter toward each other, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable with that.”

Personal preferences may explain dissimilarities in this regard, but divergences could also be associated with other second-order themes such as confidence. These associations are further described in the ultimate chapter of the result section.



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