This doctoral research aims to obtain a richer understanding of the characteristics of employees’ social interactions that foster (or hinder) creativity and innovation in the workplace. Research has shown that there are different phases that individuals go through to arrive to creativity and innovation: generating, elaborating, championing and implementing creative ideas. Relatively recently, scholars have recognized that the social environment in which individuals are embedded matter for these phases and have paid increasing attention to creativity as a social process. They have explored this topic through social network lenses given that social networks capture relational attributes (i.e., tie content), such as trust, among interconnected actors, and the network structure or the positions in which they are situated. However, because the topic is so recent, research on which social networks are optimal to achieve creative benefits is so far inconclusive.
This PhD project is organized around three crucial social dimensions of social interactions in the workplace: social hierarchy, tie content, and network structure. In relation to the first of these dimensions, this project will investigate the effects of power and status on creativity as these are pervasive features of social organization in the workplace. Regarding the second dimension, this research will examine the effects of distinct type of relationships, such as advice-giving and friendship, that facilitates each phase of the idea journey. With respect to the third dimension, a series of network positions and structures will be examined in conjunction with other relevant social and individual characteristics.
This PhD project follows a multi-method approach. On the one hand, it deploys intra-organizational social network analyses to empirically test the network structures and type of relationships that facilitates the generation and implementation of creative ideas. On the other hand, it deploys lab-experiments to yield more knowledge on the underlying theoretical mechanisms of the aforementioned relationships.