Demand for creativity has moved from individual to organizational levels encompassing work environments in which organizations, competing for customers and clients, have reached a global imperative to innovate as the pace of change has escalated. Organizations must meet demands of talent shortages at a time when clients are demanding more for less. Creativity, as a means to produce innovative outcomes, allows organizations to embrace new ideas; organizational creativity integrates the creativity of individuals with needs at the organizational level inviting an environment of change; change requires organizational learning impacting the organizational context (Dennison, 1996) of climate and culture.
Architectural practice encompassing the design disciplines of architecture, interior design, and planning, represents a creative domain, and appropriate context in which to explore organizational creativity. Focusing the disciplinary lens of human resource development (HRD) on organizational creativity contextualizes the foundations of HRD–learning, performance, and change–in sustaining and nourishing the needs of organizational creativity, and at the same time defines a strategic role for HRD.
By examining responses of participants from five firms (N = 90), foundational knowledge was constructed about organizational creativity and its relationship to the constructs of creativity, values, and performance within the context of large architectural practices. Participant firms were drawn from a stratified random sample of Architectural Record's 2009 Top 250 Firms reporting annual revenues from architectural services only and were invited to respond to an e-survey.
Correlation and regression analysis examined the relationship of creativity, values, and performance shaping organizational creativity. The study also tested indices for three value disciplines to achieve market leadership proposed by Treacy and Wiersema (1995). A strong association was revealed with the discipline choice of product leadership and creativity.
Findings suggest creativity has a fragile relationship to performance contradicting the study by Eskildsen, Dahlgaard, and Nørgaard (1999). In addition, six of ten measures confirmed in earlier climate studies of creative work environments were found to have poor reliabilities, contradicting findings of earlier studies (Amabile, Conti, Coon, Lazenby, & Herron, 1996; Amabile & Gryskiewicz, 1989; Damanpour, 1991; Haynes, Wall, Bolden, Stride, & Rick, 1999; Hunter, Bedell, & Mumford, 2007); there may be differences in creative versus non-creative work venues (Ensor, Pirrie, & Band, 2006). Intellectual stimulation, the value discipline of product leadership, and workplace values appeared to have strong influences on a firm's creativity and to a lesser degree, challenging work.