Creativity as a pragmatic moral tool

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

2 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Journal / PublicationJournal of Business Research
Online published1 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019



Although creativity is a truly desirable and often scarce commodity in organizations, its moral implications have not been fully explored. This research takes a new approach to investigate creativity as a moral tool, predicting that creativity generates pragmatic solutions by stimulating both unethical rule circumvention and ingenious escapes from immoral rules. The results from four complementary studies support these predictions. Specifically, Study 1 showed that when people were creative, they did not violate rules directly; instead, they were more likely to ingeniously use loopholes to circumvent the rules. Studies 2 and 3 showed that when people were creative, they circumvented moral and immoral legal ordinances for different moral motives; they also approved of moral rule circumvention more than similarly creative but immoral rule circumvention. Finally, Study 4 suggested that experiencing more workplace creativity was related to justifications of morally debatable issues (e.g., euthanasia and homosexuality) but not justifications of clearly immoral issues (e.g., bribery and cheating). The discussion section explores the theoretical and practical implications of these findings.

Research Area(s)

  • Creativity, Decision-making, Morality, Right-wrong versus right-right moral issues

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