Houston, TX

Rice University's expert identifies the effects of team creativity in a study

Jason Martinez

HOUSTON, TX - Jing Zhou, the Mary Gibbs Jones Professor of Management and Psychology at Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business conducted a study to investigate the effects of "team effective diversity" as a part of team creativity.

The study was conducted based on frequent events that people might tend to pick those who are cheerful, optimistic, with flexible thinking when they are working in a team on a project.

The researchers separated two terms to address this behavior — "negative effect" is team members who show critical and persistent which allow them to solve problems, discover and evaluate relevant information. While "positive effect" is team members who engage in comprehensive and flexible thinking which helps them see the unusual and creative connection.

Zhou said it's possible for some of the team members to experience positive effects such as joy and inspiration, while others may experience negative effects such as anxiety and stress. The only way to solve it is by embracing affective heterogeneity.

A high level of affective heterogeneity is also described by Zhou as “dual-tuning”, which is a great sign of greater creativity.

The researchers tested 59 teams who are working on a project in an undergraduate management course at a university in Hong Kong. Each team developed a business plan, including designing new products to compete with potential competitors in the market.

The study suggests that teams' “affective heterogeneity” can provide resources for team creativity through building a strong “transactive memory system", which can be improved by spending time together, sharing goals and information about member specializations, as well as train on the task together.

Read more about the new management study here

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