Culture-Dependent Creativity: Cultural Effects and creative outcomes
Creativity has long been proclaimed as the flagship of the Western world, whereas East-Asian countries were pronounced as having a “creativity problem”. Numerous explanations were suggested to account for these differences, but all yielded inconclusive results. The current research proposes that creativity may have different meanings in different cultures, which may influence a person’s priority in producing novel, rare or useful creative outcomes. Individualistic cultures (e.g., North America), idolize breakthrough creativity and pursue pioneering ideas, whereas collectivistic cultures (e.g., East Asia) build upon existing traditions and enhance social ties, thus the reinterpretation and appropriateness of ideas are important elements of creativity that influence creative performance. The current study examined the effect of individualism-collectivism on latent meanings of creativity and the latter’s effect on creative performance, using a sample of 160 MBA students from the US and Hong Kong. Results confirmed that individualism-collectivism indirectly effect the different aspects of creative performance through the different meanings of creativity. Hence, this study extends previous research by identifying the meaning of creativity as an important explanatory mediator of the relationship between collectivism-individualism and creative performance outcomes.