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ABSTRACT: The paper is a small part of a research made for identify if benchmarking is or can be used in creativity management in Romanian organizations, in order to combat the effects of the economic-financial crisis and to increase organizational performance. Using questionnaires, the author collected data from the academic and industrial environment. The paper related the creativity and benchmarking influence on three of the organizational functions: research and development, production and marketing. First, it presents an original synthesis about the theory in this field. Second, it presents the results of a research performed on three categories of respondents: PhD candidates in management, university management professors and managers from industrial organizations. Finally, it suggested some modalities for an efficient use of creativity and benchmarking in Romanian organizations.
Introduction (Heading 1)
The paper is a small part of a research made for identify if benchmarking is or can be used in creativity management in Romanian organizations, in order to combat the effects of the economic-financial crisis and to increase organizational performance .
Using questionnaires, the author collected data from the academic and industrial environment. The paper related the creativity and benchmarking influence on three of the organizational functions: research and development, production and marketing.
Particular importance was given, lately, on one hand to creativity in the organizational context, on the other hand, to the use of modern management methodologies.
However, creativity can not solve all of the problems of an organization without any limitations or restrictions. Through creativity, these limits and restrictions can only be reduced. (, p 41). The same happens with modern management methods.
Contemporary experts claim that in a modern economy, creativity is an essential factor in obtaining added value to any organization. For example, Suleiman K. Kassicieh, following a research conducted on the 361 U.S. metropolitan areas, designated creativity as one of the key factors of sustainable development by creating new businesses, the contribution which brings him to the establishment of jobs and prosperity of society: "jobs and wealth" (, p 26, Fig. 1 - Link between government Policies, Factors, and economic development). If these issues were acknowledged by the Romanian managers, creativity could help at overcoming any economic and financial crisis.
â€žCreativity is actually a lever for economic innovation of the whole concept. From systemic perspective, its role is to accelerate economic progress, by printing the harmonious development of all the functions it combines in an economic system" (, p. 87).
However, there is a risk when the organization wants to make discoveries on its own, as a closed system, on the grounds of the protection of knowledge, innovations and inventions. It is likely to rediscover something that had been implemented long ago in other organizations. This is where benchmarking becomes involved, which allows interaction with the environment organization and the use of factors, data, information or knowledge as factors outside "triggers of creativity". This way, researchers and creative people can enhance others creativity with their own ideas. It saves material, financial, human resources and, especially, time (, pp. 12-13).
These are the main arguments that the research conducted, creativity and benchmarking were discussed together as a value-generating mechanism in the organization. We are not trying to create a myth that only two elements can work together. We only point out their power and effectiveness when used in tandem.
The impact of this tandem on the research, the production and the marketing in Romanian organizations was studied on three categories of respondents: PhD candidates in management, university management professors and managers from industrial organizations.
the research and its results
In one of the questions, respondents were asked to assess the impact that they believe that benchmarking - creativity association has on the organization's functions. In this paper, we examined respondents' opinions regarding three of these functions: research, production and marketing.
The responses were quantified using the following rating scale: 0 - I do not know, 1 - very small, 2 - small, 3 - ordinary, 4 - strong, 5 - very strong.
PhD candidates and teachers opinions recorded many similarities (Fig. 1).
Regarding the influence of creativity and benchmarking on research functions within an organization, most respondents felt that is very strong: 88% of PhD candidates and 95.45% of the professors.
Most PhD candidates appreciated the influence of creativity and benchmarking on the production function as strong (48%) or very strong (40%). Most professors have appreciated this influence to be strong (63.64%), the following quotation (22.72%) was for the very strong influence.
PhD candidates and Professors opinions about the influence of tandem creativity-benchmarking on research, production and marketing in Romanian Organizations
The impact of this tandem on marketing organizations was appreciated by PhD candidates (Fig. 1) as very strong (60%) or strong (32%) and by professors, strong (50%) or very strong (50%).
Interesting, all PhD candidates and professors evaluated the influence of the creativity-benchmarking tandem on the three organizational functions mentioned as strong, very strong, or ordinary (Fig. 1). This has led to high average values â€‹â€‹of responses (Table 1).
Also, it can be noticed that the views of those two categories of respondents had a high degree of homogeneity, all coefficients hovering well below 0.35 (Table 1). So, very good averages, with values â€‹â€‹above 4, are representative for the sample and indicate that professors and PhD candidates consider the influence of creativity and benchmarking on the research, on the production and on the marketing as more than strong.
The same question about the impact of the creativity-benchmarking tandem on the organizational functions was addressed to managers at different levels in different organizations operating in Romania. The managers have been requested personal opinions, even if their companies have practiced little or no benchmarking (see , Â§16.2, pp. 315-381). The questionnaire revealed, in many cases, poor managers concern in these companies on the employees' creativity, too. However, we considered that they can answer this question, even if they do not pay enough attention to creativity and benchmarking during their work. And we were not wrong. Furthermore, we believe that we pointed out to them the negative aspects of their work, showing that it is not enough to know modern theories, unless one applies them.
Managers' opinions are represented graphically in Figure 2. Their diversity is higher than the opinions of professors and PhD candidates in management. In large part this is due to the fact that some managers have recognized that they do not know what benchmarking means. Other ignorant managers were found using the questionnaire's construction.
Statistic values for PhD candidates and Professors answers about the influence of tandem creativity-benchmarking on research, production and marketing
Creativity &benchmarking influence on the following organizational functions
PhD candidates in management
Managers opinions about the influence of tandem creativity-benchmarking on research, production and marketing in Romanian Organizations
Most managers (Fig. 2) have agreed that the impact of creativity and benchmarking on the production and marketing is high (51.22%), and on the research is very high (60.98%).
Opinions of respondents are still homogeneous low, the coefficient values â€‹â€‹ranging between 0.35 and 0.45 (Table 2). Because of that, and averages had lower values â€‹â€‹than those of professors and PhD students: over 3.5 but under 4.1.
Statistic values for managers answers about the influence of tandem creativity-benchmarking on research, production and marketing
Creativity &benchmarking influence on
Overall, however, the averages obtained on the sample of managers indicated their appreciation of the strong influence of benchmarking and creativity of the research, the production and the marketing.
After this questions, the three categories were asked to indicate "at least two measures applicable in Romania" to increase creativity and benchmarking impact on the organization functions, "for the firms' and society's benefit".
Professors and PhD candidates have suggested many possible changes in the activity of the firms or in the business environment. We grouped by category and we name those that could have a major effect on the organizational functions analyzed in this paper (, Fig. 16.39, p. 277):
proposals on changes in the structure of the national businesses environment (24.4% of the solutions offered by PhD candidates and 21.9% of them offered by managers);
measures relating to the joint function of the marketing research (12.2% of PhD candidates and 3.1% of professors);
measures for organizational reorganization / restructuring (2.4% of PhD candidates and 12.5% â€‹â€‹of professors);
practical suggestions for a more intensive use of creativity and benchmarking in the Romanian business environment (36.6% of PhD candidates proposals and 40.6% of professors proposals).
Managers have indicated several solutions, but the range of these solutions did not allow us to group them into categories. We name a few, the ones we have found most important (, pp. 341-342):
To involve the Ministry of Education in support of the Romanian research by providing funding and disseminating media inventions. Creation of special national funds allocated to R & D on long, medium and short terms was supported by 11% of respondent managers.
Increase the availability of real and useful benchmarking information in different industries nationwide.
Change the shape and content of reports issued by the National Institute of Statistics or by consulting firms that have conducted benchmarking processes in order to make them easier to understand.
Participation of senior management of Romanian organizations at international conferences and periodic training on the topic of creativity and modern management methodologies.
Facilitate absorption of EU funds grants by reducing bureaucracy in developing and implementing regional development projects.
The three categories of respondents ranked the impact of creativity and benchmarking tandem on the three organizational functions as follows: the first place - research, the second - marketing and third - production (see averages in Table 1, 2).
After processing several open questions in the questionnaire, aimed at improving business in Romania by using creativity and benchmarking, several categories of suggestions were detained, with direct impact on the research, the production and the marketing of the organization :
Using benchmarking in creativity management, as well as creativity stimulating techniques and management through projects, and the various combinations of techniques and methods.
Recommendations regarding the access of the employees in general and experts in particular to the specialized literature necessary and useful for maintaining the flow of knowledge and the creative atmosphere in the organization.
Using the tandem creativity - benchmarking as strategic "tool" in the management of change, supported by a national growth of competitiveness in each sector.
Intensifying the cooperation within the Romanian business environment and between it and the scientific areas (one way would be developing the chains of technological transfer), but also the cooperation between the public, private and social sectors.
Proposals for more profound modifications in the theory and practice of management, such as: creating an innovating development model, which includes creativity in the model of sustainable development, creating new functions of the firm - the knowledge function - and opening the knowledge markets.
A new manner of collecting and managing information and knowledge, by using the digital bases at the level of the firm and at a national level, on areas of interest, thus obtaining a system that would allow fast benchmarking processes, through the access to a computer.