Team Creativity and Innovation: A Motivated Information Processing Perspective



Recent years have seen a large increase in the scientific interest in team (or group) creativity and innovation. However, a coherent theoretical framework is missing. My colleagues and I have proposed that Motivated Information Processing Theory (De Dreu, Nijstad, & Van Knippenberg, 2008; Nijstad, 2015; Nijstad & De Dreu, 2012) may provide such a framework. The theory assumes that two types of motivation are essential to reap the benefits of team member resources (e.g., their knowledge and skills): epistemic motivation (the motivation to exert effort to reach a full understanding of an issue) and social motivation (the preference for outcome distributions between oneself and the group). I will present this model, and present (published and unpublished) evidence for it. This evidence consists of both laboratory studies and field research. This work suggests that teams become creative or innovative when 1) members have much or diverse resources and are willing to share unique contributions 2) when they are prepared to thoroughly discuss the issues facing them and 3) they are motivated to work closely together.