The Agency Effect in the Creative Revision of New Ideas



After being generated, a new idea is rarely perfect but must be improved and developed in more detail. Unfortunately, idea elaboration and creativity do not always come together: many new ideas become less creative after being revised. We propose and test hypotheses that compare when creators elaborate their new ideas (i.e., self-revision) vs. when elaboration is done by other creators (i.e., delegated revision). Drawing upon creative cognition theories, we propose that, people are cognitively more persistent when they revise their new ideas than others’ new ideas. We further hypothesize that the advantage of self-revision over delegation depends on the initial level of creativity of the new idea. Specifically, we argue that self-revision is more beneficial for creative ideas, but less beneficial than self-revision when new ideas initially lack creativity. We tested and found support for our hypotheses in an archival study of an online 3D printing platform with 13,912 prototypes and a laboratory experiment. This research contributes to the creativity literature by advancing our knowledge of the creative processes after the idea generation stage.


Thomas Gillier, Grenoble Ecole de Management

Barry L. Bayus, Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina

Sergio L. Toral Marín, University of Seville, Facultad de Turismo y Finanzas

Rocío Martínez Torres, University of Seville, Facultad de Turismo y Finanzas


This seminar will take place in person in room T09-67, Mandeville Building. Alternatively, click here to join the seminar online. 

Meeting ID: 997 6200 3062

Passcode: 637884