Creativity Stifling Issues Of Crisis Management


Crisis management has been lauded that, by determining: the type, duration, impact and direction of crisis in time, saves a management a great deal of costs- in terms of time and money. These crises may be economic, political, social or even environmental. On the other hand the vicinity of the crisis may be local or global, such as global warming. In terms of any prolongation of the crisis period may be as quick as a fire is extinguished or slow and long in terms of time, such as labor problems and the problems of war. Many social scientists that have analyzed creativity in its abstractness asserted that, "the greatest hindrance on creative activity in organizations is not so much a lack of creative individuals, but rather a lack of managers who comprehend and reward creative work."(Leading creativity, 2010, p.6)

Most managers have downplayed the effects of several organizational variables to the success of an organization including stifling creativity. This has conceived arguments on the matter with many agreeing that organizations are loosing effectiveness, reputation and brand image. Creative figures become frustrated in most of these organizations. Several measures have been proposed to resolve the problem of 'dying creativity'. These measures are simply the application of crisis management customized for this particular crisis-creativity stifling. As this paper puts it, the call for creativity in organizations is far less demanding.

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Understanding Creativity

Creativity is "the ability to consistently produce different and variable results" (Levesque, 2001, p. 5). The current business environment demands for creativity in all aspects. This is required in all the sectors within an organization ranging from management to the subordinate. Kotter has noted that leadership in the current business environment calls for creativity (Blagg & Susan, 2001, p. 35). Making chronological observations, scholars have concluded that, "increasingly, the people who are most effective are those who essentially are both managers and leaders" (Blagg & Susan 2001, p. 33). In his book Kotter (1990) posited that, the leader has the responsibility to 'create and manage change'. He went ahead to point out some important points that distinguish leaders from managers, these are:

Leaders are futuristic and are not bounded by timescales (except when schedules call for that) managers are strict on budgets and time frames.

Leaders laud organizational communication, managers are structured

Leaders inspire and motivate while managers use problem solving approach.

Leaders are unpredictable in their actions while managers are predictable (Thompson and Thompson, 2009, p.672).

Creativity ignites excitement and enthusiasm in the creative figure, but the implementation process requires much more than intuition-it is a tactful affair. A controversy that is rife among scholars and practitioners is whether creativity is only innate- out of talent or whether creativity can be nurtured through hard work and motivation-which is dependent on the business environment. In corporate spheres, there are various kinds of attitudes towards creativity and innovation (Leading creativity, 2010). These attitudes vary depending on the type of industry and/or department. The attitude also varies depending on the goals and core values of an organization-call it company policy on creativity. A developmental research firm for example survives on the creative flow of ideas in carrying out its day to day activities. On the other hand a manufacturing assembly line may not afford creative ideas in the short run since creativity would mean disruption of 'normal' activities. In brief, how creativity is taken in an organization will depend on the following factors as proposed by Levitt (1963, p.72):

Whose idea it is: Who is she/he? If the idea originates from the executive, the subordinate will have to implement it. However, when an idea is flowing from below, it needs push and urging for it to be implemented.

How complex is the idea: a more complex idea- that is quite involving has more Implications and requires more changes and reorganization obviously may not be implemented since the organization will need much cover-up for the associated risks.

Type of industry: some industries survive on creative ideas to thrive-example the medicine industry. In such an industry, creativity and innovation are quickly absorbed. The nature of the industry also will dictate the level of supporting detail from the creator of the idea.

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The attitude(s) and nature of the people to whom the idea is presented: It has been noted that some executives are open to creative ideas while other are simple not comfortable with the new creative ideas. In fact some embrace novelty such that they challenge their staff to be creative. However, on the middle ground, the extent to which an idea will be accepted will depend on the elaborateness in the presentation of the idea.

For the so called busy manager, a creative idea introduces more problems than solutions. When an idea has been thoroughly presented; in such a manner that the anticipated risks, costs and benefits and even implementation alternatives, it is more likely to be accepted. Such an idea is a relief for the busy manger.

Managing creativity, important issues

When handling problems of creativity, one may need to identify and define the nature; goals, core-values and the missions of organization- issues proximate to key operations should be identified. Thompson and Thompson (2009, p.671) have depicted creativity as part of the 'cycle of growth'. They assert that, "creativity is often an interactive loop in itself…Intrapreneurship in established organizations is represented by a creativity-reflection-doing sub-loop within an appropriate structure" (Thompson & Thompson, 2009, p. 671).

Most organizations today are headed by 'baby boomers'-these are about ages 46-62. These kinds of leaders are principled and values oriented, this makes them a little hesitant to move ahead without seeing a principled course of action in place. Their actions are transformational especially when it comes to management issues. Sometimes they tend to redefine, reorganize and even overhaul their organizations. In Many areas of business have Boomers who always want their point to be considered-they always take charge. However, many lack the due discipline when managing transitions; they act rather intolerant to resistance that accompanies change. Boomers tend to be authoritarian in leadership; their corporate culture is that of command and control. This creates an environment that has no transitional space as psychoanalytics would call it. For creativity to be enhanced, the so called rules and regulations need to be reduced. Another class of 'upcoming' leaders is the Gen-X'ers-age ranges 25-45. Most of the Gen-X'ers are middle level managers with the exception of the "high-tech industry and entrepreneurial ventures." (Gilburg, 2010) X'ers are well versed technologically, good learners, and opportunistic. They are also collaborative if not corroborative when it comes to impatience. These class of leadership are receptive to creativity but their pragmatic nature always relies on external stimuli thus they need directions from 'above'. This lack of independence among the X'ers tends to create a generational conflict. Managing creativity requires a leadership style that is visionary, empowering, and energizing. As Thomas puts it, "The status quo needs to be revised so as to pave way for encouragement and commitment and motivation (Gilburg, 2010).

Permitting Creativity

Creativity is an interpersonal process; that is nurtured by supportive and understanding interactions with other people"(Leasing creativity, 2010). In most successful businesses, the quality leader in place have become aware of the fact that making the working environment creative friendly is desirable and this is done through exercising responsibility and control as per the organizations constraint can allow (Pearson, 1998).

The nature of creativity makes the creative activity to look odd or even bizarre at first, but a well created and implemented idea is always more than beneficial. The field of crisis management offers several suggestions on how to enhance creativity in management-checking on the creativity stifling crisis. Here are some views integrated from scholars and management consultants;

1- Use of the time and money

The modern manager is well expected to follow strict keep budgets and schedules and consequently to account for all the costs in terms of time and money. This guarantees them success and they only reap when they remain on 'top of their game'-are able to account for all activities in the organization exactly; why, when and where. This pressure from above compels them to supervise those under them-even the creative ones on what to do and when to do it. This is the source of creativity stifling. In retrospect, creative developments mostly take time to be realized. These developments may not be apparent especially during the developmental period-completion and implementations have to take place first. The validation criteria in most organizations-without the investing of time and/or money should not apply. Leaders may not be in a position to dismiss a creative idea unless they are willing to take part in the creative process. This will give them leverage to even foresee the success or failure of the implementation of the creative idea. This is real rationality- analyzing the idea from both sides of the coin, investing time and/or money, then decision making (Leading creativity, 2010).

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2- An early warning system

Every well prepared crisis management is fully set with an early warning system. For creativity, organizations can set creativity listening systems as early warning systems. This would serve to absorb each creative idea, analyze the idea, implement the idea if it is prudent doing so and then monitor the idea. Early detection systems would serve both to identify the creative individual and its systematic storage system will ensure that no creative idea is dismissed without objectivity.

3- Database

Identifying people that are creative is the initial barrier to permitting creativity in organizations. Researchers have proved that creativity is not necessarily related to better grades or even high IQ (Amabile, 2001). As a matter of fact, creativity is basically born out knowledge and hard work, and new methods of perceiving combinations. This calls for a database system through which the creative thoughts and ideas are stored for the purposes of reviewing-to allow progress rather than reinventing the wheel. The use of a good database will also ensure that failures are well handled and even used as stepping stones for success.

4- Willingness

When a creative idea has been conceived, the originator of the idea may want to share it with someone. Leaders should be willing and understanding when it comes to the needs of creative people. This promotes creativity since when the needs of creative employees are catered for it motivates them to share even more of their unconventional visions. Willingness should also be accompanied with patience. Sometimes, leaders who are trying to grasp creative thoughts from an employee may feel a little jittery due to their status and self-image. Take a scenario where a leader feels he/she is being "lectured" by a junior staff that has very little experience. Unless this leader is mature enough to have the required to esteem to stomach being a student of the ideas of their subordinate, creativity will continue to be stifled. Organizations in general should also be willing to stomach creative individuals who may at first seem obsessed with their activities-these activities may appear disassociated with organizational goals and objectives (Leading creativity, 2010)

5- Utilization of available resources

When it comes to creativity people are always mislead. The fallacy is that for creativity to thrive gigantic organizational changes need to be made and/or there must be a policy overhaul in the organization. This is awful. Proper utilization of an organization's resources has proved to be a clever idea in itself. An organization that has established strong team loyalty among its departments: hands opportunities to creative individuals in the groups, and in departments even before spreading to the entire organization. Considering resources in an organization involves the resources that posture the organization-these includes, staffing, employee relations and organization structure.

6- Efficient communication system

People who are creative find fewer people in whom they can confide. These are the very individuals that can help the creative's to succeed. An effective communication system which clearly defines the channels of propagating a creative idea is paramount for the success of a creative idea. Effective communication creates room for the creative's to establish trust in their leaders who may even at times allow them to experiment their idea without soiling their face.

7- Successful and effective leadership

The kind of leadership that supports creativity is that which clearly and frankly confirms that they admire the new idea, but some of the concepts may be unavoidable. In fact, effective leadership will boldly criticize an idea which they feel is erroneous. Effective leadership calls for honesty and objectivity when analyzing a creative idea. Practically, creative's are complex, multi-opinionated and sometimes too technical. This may lay obstacles in the way to accessing the risks, costs and benefit of the idea, but this does not mean that the idea should be dismissed. Instead, effective leadership gives the idea time and even more in-depth analysis before deciding on its fate. Effective management has the ability to comprehend that creativity and innovation are prerequisites to growth and prosperity. The openness to new ideas allows more creative people to join the bandwagon of success. However, it is imperative to note that implementing a creative idea is no monkey business (Florida, 2004, p. 122)

When a creative idea enters an organization, effective leadership is the point of entry, hence vouching for the idea means they share in the risks, the anxieties and other factors associated with the project. Moreover, these leaders will even be betting for more stakes compared to their subordinate. Effective leaders are the ones who are able to take such risks in view of the fact that great opportunities lie ahead (Leading creativity, 2010, p.9) It's a win-win case since the leaders are learning to fish in the most undiscovered, and less explored lake in the world- the power of creation of the human mind.


The view on permitting creativity in clarity points out the issues of rigidity and lack of conformity seem to stifle creativity. Following up on the details of a creative idea in itself should not stifle the creative individual. Instead, inquiry into the creative ideas should only prepare the highway to effective innovations. If the inquiry spelled into the creative process is honest and objective, then creativity should not be stifled. If the creative is stifled in such an inquiry it would mean the idea may have not been properly conceived. The creative urge should not automatically vanish the moment the idea is requisite to take some form of accountability. Organizations should not feel too big and involutedly secure to adapt to creativity, innovation and change. An organization with a capacity to divide its risk over a wide stable base and even among the many individuals when implementing new ideas is the organization that has an ideal environment necessary and sufficient for creativity and innovation.