Creative contribution of individuals in groups: Effects of goal orientation and participative safety
Jin Nam Choi (Seoul National University), Sun Young Sung (Nanjing University), and Theresa S. Cho (Seoul National University), 2014, 42(3), 407–422

In April this year, we published a noteworthy paper by Choi, Sung, and Cho, connecting creative contribution and goal orientation. They perceived, as have many other researchers, that a learning goal orientation is much more likely to result in creative success than is a performance goal orientation. Haven’t many of us seen situations like this: someone may be desperately disappointed at not achieving a goal, or receiving a less than glowing evaluation for their work. And yet, along the way in that project, there may have been opportunities for learning, chances to build competence in his or her role. A learning goal orientation focuses a person’s attention on the process and the desire to increase competence. A performance goal is all about the final outcome and evaluation. 

Choi et al. investigated whether this difference could impact on creative contribution, that is, not only individual creative performance, but also whether an individual would help to contribute to the creative endeavors of others in a team. Their results were clear; a learning goal orientation had a significant and positive effect on creative contribution, whereas a performance goal orientation had a significant and negative effect. Another point that really stood out to me was that the aggregated goal orientation of a team would also have the same effect on group creative performance. 

A number of other factors were studied: participative safety was included as a moderator; creative contribution was developed as a new construct to extend individual creative performance; and results were analyzed at an individual and group level.  

It is fascinating to consider how these variables can all contribute to discussions within organizations, social groups, clubs, or any creative team. An environment for safe, collaborative, creativity can be encouraged and in turn, foster healthy teams and better team performance. 

Alex Cheyne, Managing Editor    
Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal