HOW DOES BUREAUCRACY IMPACT INDIVIDUAL.pdf

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<ul><li><p>HOW DOES BUREAUCRACY IMPACT INDIVIDUALCREATIVITY? A CROSS-LEVEL INVESTIGATION OF TEAM</p><p>CONTEXTUAL INFLUENCES ON GOALORIENTATIONCREATIVITY RELATIONSHIPS</p><p>GILES HIRSTMonash University</p><p>DAAN VAN KNIPPENBERGErasmus University Rotterdam</p><p>CHIN-HUI CHENTaiwan Customs Bureau</p><p>CLAUDIA A. SACRAMENTOAston University</p><p>Offering important counterpoint to work identifying team influences stimulating cre-ative expression of individual differences in goal orientation, we develop cross-leveltheory establishing that team bureaucratic practices (centralization and formalization)constrain creative expression. Speaking to the tension between bureaucracy and cre-ativity, findings indicate that this influence is not only negative and that effects ofcentralization and formalization differ. Surveying 330 employees in 95 teams at theTaiwan Customs Bureau, we found that learning and performance avoid goal ori-entations had, respectively, stronger positive and weaker negative relationships withcreativity under low centralization. A performance-prove orientation was positivelyrelated to creativity under low formalization.</p><p>As employee creativity is crucial for organization-al innovation and survival (Amabile, 1988; Oldham&amp; Cummings, 1996), managers and scholars alikehave sought to identify the ingredients that fosterindividual creativity. It is well recognized that theteam context in which employees are embeddedplays a central role in stimulating the creative ex-pression of individual differences (Amabile &amp;Conti, 1999; Hirst, van Knippenberg, &amp; Zhou, 2009;Shalley, Zhou, &amp; Oldham, 2004). Accordingly, re-searchers have begun to adopt a cross-level focus toexamine the interplay between individual andteam factors (Zhou &amp; Shalley, 2008; cf. Klein &amp;Kozlowski, 2000). In this respect, research hasidentified individual differences in goal orientation</p><p>that encourage self-regulation in achievement situ-ations as a powerful influence on creativity when acontext stimulates their expression (Hirst et al.,2009). Yet researchers have in effect turned a blindeye to the fact that organizations, and units withinthem, also need to impose practices and proceduresthat themselves regulate, order, and control behav-ior (Burns &amp; Stalker, 1961; Thompson, 1965). Orga-nizations and organizational units instill such prac-tices to ensure consistency, efficiency, and control(Adler, 1999), but such bureaucracy may stifle in-dividuals creativity. To build toward a comprehen-sive understanding of the factors affecting individualcreativity in teams, scholars thus need to consider notonly contextual factors that invite creativity, but alsocontextual influences that may constrain it. To pro-vide this important complementary perspective onthe current state of the science, we zoom in on teambureaucratic context and how it influences the cre-ative expression of goal orientations.We rely on an integrative person-in-situation the-</p><p>ory that describes how situational influences mayeither restrain or invite the expression of individ-ual differences (Tett &amp; Burnett, 2003; cf. Mischel,1977). Although at first glance it might appear that</p><p>The authors would like to thank Associate Editor Eliz-abeth Morrison and the three anonymous reviewers fortheir insightful comments and suggestions. We alsothank Jeremy Dawson, Pamela Tierney, and Adam Grantfor their advice and The Faculty of Business and Eco-nomics, University of Melbourne, for the support andfacilities provided during the first authors sabbatical.</p><p>Editors Note: The manuscript for this article was ac-cepted during Duane Irelands term as editor.</p><p> Academy of Management Journal2011, Vol. 54, No. 3, 624641.</p><p>624</p><p>Copyright of the Academy of Management, all rights reserved. Contents may not be copied, emailed, posted to a listserv, or otherwise transmitted without the copyright holders expresswritten permission. Users may print, download or email articles for individual use only.</p></li><li><p>the influence of bureaucracy is straightforwarditsuppresses creativitywe propose that a closerlook suggests that the issue is more complex. First,there are important individual differences in goalorientations that capture individuals likelihood toengage in, or avoid, creative behavior, and there isa strong case to be made that these differences ingoal orientations lead individuals to responddifferently to higher and lower levels of teambureaucracy. Second, bureaucracy can be charac-terized in terms of two core dimensions, central-ization and formalization (Bolin &amp; Harenstam,2008; Caruana, Morris, &amp; Vella, 1998; Raub,2007), and we propose that high versus low levelsof centralization have different influences on in-dividuals creative tendencies than high versuslow levels of formalization.Our core contribution lies in an important ad-</p><p>vancement of person-in-situation analyses of cre-ativity (Hirst et al., 2009; Taggar, 2002), demon-strating that contextual influences may not onlyinvite the creative expression of individual differ-ences, but also constrain them. Our study thus pro-vides insights into resolution of the tension be-tween bureaucratic control and innovation, whichhas eluded the field for half a century (cf. Burns &amp;Stalker, 1961). This is also a pragmatically impor-tant issue, as organizations rely on a certain level ofbureaucracy, prioritizing establishing and stickingto a beaten track, while also desiring creativitywhich by definition entails stepping off the beatentrack. In examining person-in-situation influences,we deviate from the organizational design litera-tures study of the main effects of bureaucracy (e.g.,Bunderson &amp; Boumgarden, 2010; Raub, 2007) andbring together two perspectives on behavioral reg-ulation that have been studied in separate tradi-tions. One perspective has been characterized byindividual-level analyses of self-regulation in goal-directed behavior (DeShon &amp; Gillespie, 2005;Porath &amp; Bateman, 2006); the other, by analyses ofcontextual regulation of behavior at the level ofsocial aggregates (Raub, 2007).</p><p>THEORETICAL BACKGROUNDAND HYPOTHESES</p><p>Individual creativity at work involves the devel-opment of practical and new solutions to work-place challenges, providing a tangible and usefuloutcome for an organization (Amabile, 1988). Fol-lowing from the description of creativity as anoutcome that derives from addressing work chal-lenges, it is not surprising that individual differ-ences in goal orientation that relate to an individ-uals motivation to tackle challenging problems</p><p>influence employee creativity (Gong, Huang, &amp; Farh,2009; Hirst et al., 2009). We first outline this individ-ual difference perspective on creativity and then in-troduce the bureaucratic team context perspective,before we move on to our cross-level integration ofthese two perspectives in a series of hypotheses.</p><p>Individual Team Members: Goal Orientationsand Creativity</p><p>Achievement motivation theory describes goalorientations as motivational orientations that cap-ture how individuals regulate attention and effortwhen approaching, interpreting, and responding toachievement situations (DeShon &amp; Gillespie, 2005;Elliot &amp; Church, 1997). Two distinct orientationsare commonly identified. A learning goal orientation(from here on, a learning orientation) is focused onthe development of competence and taskmastery andfosters an intrinsic interest in a task itself (Dweck,1999). Intrinsic task motivation encourages individu-als to invest effort and show perseverance (Amabile,1996), and it is not surprising that a learning orienta-tion encourages people to develop creative solutionsto problems at work (Gong et al., 2009; Hirst et al.,2009; cf. Janssen &amp; Van Yperen, 2004).People may also be motivated by extrinsic factors</p><p>such as competing against others, receiving re-wards, acknowledgement, or avoiding criticism(VandeWalle, 1997). This motivation is captured bythe performance goal orientation, which is focusedon the demonstration of competence to others. Thisexternally attuned motivation can be divided intotwo subdimensions. A performance-prove goal ori-entation (from here on, a prove orientation) encour-ages individuals to seek to attain favorable judg-ments, whereas people who are concerned aboutavoiding unfavorable competence judgments havea performance-avoid goal orientation (from hereon, an avoid orientation). The prove orientationmay dispose individuals to be more creative whencreativity is valued as a way to demonstrate com-petence (Hirst et al., 2009). The avoid orientation,in contrast, disposes individuals to be less creative,because creativity inherently holds a risk of failure,and the possibility of appearing incompetent dis-courages these individuals from engaging in riskyor challenging activities (VandeWalle, 1997) thatwould have provided opportunities for creativity.Goal orientation is fundamentally about self-reg-</p><p>ulation of behavior (Button, Mathieu, &amp; Zajac,1996; DeShon &amp; Gillespie, 2005). Goal orientationsencourage people to choose, either consciously orsubconsciously, to engage in certain types of behav-iors in achievement situations. For instance, insuch situations, individuals with high levels of</p><p>2011 625Hirst, van Knippenberg, Chen, and Sacramento</p></li><li><p>learning orientation may choose to engage in adap-tive behaviors patterns such as selecting challeng-ing tasks, setting difficult goals, and persistingwhen obstacles are encountered. Therefore, to ad-equately model the behavioral outcomes of goalorientations, it is necessary to consider how theyinform responses to the context in which the be-havior is enacted (DeShon &amp; Gillespie, 2005). Morebroadly, the strong emergence of person-in-situa-tion approaches (Chen &amp; Kanfer, 2006; Tett &amp; Bur-nett, 2003; cf. Kristoff, 1996) highlights that ananalysis of the interplay between individual andcontext is essential to predict the expression ofindividual dispositions. That is, the concept of dis-position should not be misrepresented to imply thatan individual will always behave in certain ways.Instead, a person-in-situation approach suggestsmov-ing away from a main effects approach inwhich theinfluence of individual differences is assumed to beconstant. Rather, it implies an emphasis on the con-tingencies of disposition-outcome relationships.Individual creativity is often enacted in the con-</p><p>text of a team or work group (Taggar, 2002), andthis context may influence the relationship be-tween goal orientation and creativity. Hirst et al.(2009) studied this very issue, focusing on teamlearning behavior as a contextual influence stimu-lating the expression of goal orientations that areconducive to creativity. They demonstrated thatteam learning behavior helped bring out the pos-itive relationship between a learning orientationand creativity and between a prove orientation andcreativity. Further testifying to the viability of thiscontingency perspective, Hirst et al. (2009) did notfind relationships between goal orientations andcreativity across the board but rather, found thatthe relationships were contingent on team learningbehavior. These findings show that team dynamicsmay stimulate the expression of creative tenden-cies, yet they are mute on the issue that assumescenter stage in the current study: the possibilitythat team contextual influences may also constrainthe expression of creative tendencies.The absence of creativity-stimulating team con-</p><p>textual influences such as team learning behaviorin no way imposes constraints on individuals cre-ative behavior. Team bureaucratic practices, incontrast, represent a different class of team contex-tual influences in that they may impose exactlysuch constraints on creativity, and their influencecannot be extrapolated from earlier findings con-cerning creativity-stimulating influences (e.g., theabsence of bureaucracy is not necessarily stimulat-ing, just as the absence of creativity-simulating in-fluences is not necessarily restraining). Adding tothe complexity of the issue, the restraining influ-</p><p>ence of team bureaucratic practices may not havenegative creativity consequences across the board,as we argue in the following.</p><p>The Team Bureaucratic Context: Centralizationand Formalization</p><p>Teams, departments, and organizations differ inthe extent to which bureaucratic practices re-strain their members. Conceptual frameworks dis-tinguish two main dimensions in this respect(Bolin &amp; Harenstam, 2008; Caruana et al., 1998; Raub,2007; cf. Burns &amp; Stalker, 1961): centralization ofdecision making (Van de Ven &amp; Ferry, 1980) andformalization of rules and procedures prescribingand controlling behavior (Hall, 1999). Both central-ized decision making and formal rules and proce-dures are ways of regulating and controlling em-ployee behaviorthe essence of bureaucracyandare associated with low employee discretion on thejob. Centralization relates to how power is distrib-uted in an organizational hierarchy and whetheremployees are encouraged to participate in deci-sion making (Hage &amp; Aiken, 1967). Low centraliza-tion captures a context in which all employeesparticipate and are afforded discretion and oppor-tunities to act according to their own inclination. Ifdecisions must be referred up the chain of com-mand and made by a few superiors, centralizationis high. Formalization relates to the extent to whichrules are clearly specified and procedures stan-dardized. Increasing formalization reduces the ex-tent of employees freedom by prescribing proce-dures and potentially by sanctioning some coursesof actionproviding specific directions as to ap-propriate actions, directing and enforcing these ac-tions, and constraining employees ability to en-gage in discretionary behaviors (Raub, 2007).In the team context, centralization captures the</p><p>extent to which within-team decision authority liessolely with a teams leader (decision making iscentralized) or is shared between leader and mem-bers (decision making is decentralized and partici-pative). Low centralization thus reflects an activeinfluence on team members, who are expected toshare decision-making authority with their leader.In that sense, low centralization may in fact have aninfluence that is described as empowering inother literatures in which decentralized, participa-tive decision making is accorded an important rolein actively engaging and intrinsically motivatingemployees (Arnold, Arad, Rhoades, &amp; Drasgow,2000; Chen, Kirkman, Kanfer, Allen, &amp; Rosen, 2007;Kirkman &amp; Rosen, 1997). Low team formalization,in contrast, merely reflects the absence of rules andprocedures regulating team member behavior and</p><p>626 JuneAcademy of Management Journal</p></li><li><p>thus if anything is merely a passive influence onindividuals. Although high centralization and for-malization may thus be similarly restraining in reg-ulating and controlling team member behavior, wepropose that low levels of centralization and for-malization may in fact reflect markedly differentinfluences on employeesan issue that becomesapparent when one considers their cross-level in-teraction with goal orientations.The importance of a foc...</p></li></ul>

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