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Creativity in the workplace has been considered one of the most important tools that can help a firm achieve success in the market. With the increasing competition being experienced in the market, firms are forced to find ways of coming up with unique products quite often as a way of gaining a competitive edge over market rivals. It is important to understand the main motivating factor in creativity in the workplace. Some believe that creativity is fueled by competition amongst employees. They argue that when there is some sort of competition, employees would be motivated to come up with new ideas in undertaking their duties. Others argue that creativity is always motivated by close collaboration of employees in the workplace in all their activities. This research seeks to affirm that collaboration leads to creativity in the workplace.
Creativity has gained a lot of attention in the recent past as firms struggle to come up with better ways of approaching different issues in their operations. According to Dance (56), creativity has been considered one of the major solutions to managing stiff market competition. In this study, the researcher seeks to respond to the question below.
To what extent does collaboration lead to creativity and innovation compared to competition in the workplace?
The question above is a clear demonstration that the researcher appreciates the effectiveness of competition as a major ingredient in inspiring employees for creativity in the workplace. A person, when placed in a competitive environment, would always want to become the best. This means that when employees are surrounded by the environment where they compete over something, they do their best to find ways in which they can overcome their colleagues. This motivates them to be creative. They would always strive to come up with new ways of achieving success in their tasks beyond what other colleagues in the workplace achieve.
The Humanistic Theory of Creativity seems to support competition as the main motivator of creativity in the workplace. This theory holds that human beings always strive to satisfy their basic needs. When these needs are satisfied, they try to achieving higher goals till they achieve self-actualization. According to this theory, one would always want to satisfy higher needs that will make him or her special over the others. This can be achieved when one sees other workmates as competitors. The self-actualization may be gained by getting higher ranks than others in the workplace. As a way of trying to be given these ranks, one can try to bring in creativity to make their work appear superior to that of the other workmates. This factor may fuel creativity among employees as they struggle to find better ways of accomplishing their tasks.
According to Perry (45), competition is one of the ways through which some firms managed to come up with creative ideas in handling different tasks. However, this poses some challenges in the company’s operation. When employees start viewing one another as competitors other than colleagues, they always try to work independently, hiding important information from workmates. If they come up with a new idea that can help other fellow employees, they would try to hide this information as a way of gaining an edge over others. This can be very disastrous because there is always the need to share information freely. It is only in this way that a firm can achieve success in the market.
Collaboration is the main approach through which a firm can achieve creativity in the workplace. Chung (78) notes that creativity can be developed when people work as a unit. It is not a one man’s show where individuals try to hide their new knowledge from others for the sake of personal glory. On the contrary, it is an effort made by every member of the organization to come up with new ideas of achieving success through finding new approaches to the problems. It is a concerted effort made by teams within the workplace to find better ways of achieving better results on different tasks.
Psychoanalytical Theory of Creativity is one of the major theories that have been used to explain some of the factors that promote creativity among individuals. According to this theory, individuals would become creative when faced with difficult circumstances or scenarios that repress their emotions. The proponents of this theory further argue that when people are faced with a repressing environment, they tend to use personal unconsciousness with the collective conscious to come up with creative ideas to overcome these difficulties (Pirola 27).
However, Muchinsky (98) warns that when creativity is borne through this approach, it may be very necessary to involve different parties in the assessment of these creative ideas before they can be put to practice. This scholar further states that not all creative ideas may be of benefit to a firm. For this reason, some creative concepts may need to pass through several stages before they can be put into practice within a firm. This means that collaboration may be necessary in achieving this.
An individual may need to share his or her creative idea with colleagues in order to improve it. As Duffy (64) notes, different people are good in different areas, and therefore, a close cooperation of individuals may be necessary when coming up with new concepts. An individual with technological skills may need a financial expert to determine the financial consequences of his or her new technological concept. He or she may need the services of marketing officer to help analyze the ability of the new product, associated with the new idea, to be successful in the market. This would help in determining its viability before it is put into practice.
This demonstrates that all these individuals would be playing a pivotal role in making such a new idea become a reality. If there is lack of collaboration amongst these employees in the workplace, there is a possibility that the technician may come up with a concept that is not financially viable. The new concept may also fail to be successful in the market.
Creativity is one of the most important ingredients that firms need in order to become efficient in facing the stiff competition in the market. Competition could be one of the ways through which creativity can be boosted. However, the best way of achieving creativity is through collaboration of employees. When they share their new ideas, it becomes easy to come up with creative ideas to handle different tasks.
Chung, Kae. “Toward a General Theory of Motivation and Performance”. California Management Review. 11.3 (2009): 81-88. Web.
Dance, Jeff. “5 Reasons why collaboration contributes to innovation.” Fresh Consulting. 27.1 (2008): 1-6. Web.
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Duffy, Michelle. “Social Undermining in the Workplace”. The Academy of Management Journal. 45.2 (2002): 331-351. Web.
Muchinsky, Paul. “Emotions in the Workplace: The Neglect of Organizational Behavior”. Journal of Organizational Behavior. 21.7 (2000): 801-805. Web.
Perry, James. “Bringing Society in: Toward a Theory of Public-Service Motivation”. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory. 10.2 (2000): 471-488. Web.
Pirola, Andrew. “The Relationship between Individual Creativity and Team Creativity: Aggregating across People and Time”. Journal of Organizational Behavior. 25.2 (2004): 235-257. Web.