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Past Issue • Apr-Jun 2011

Creativity In Leadership: Conform to Rise

Creativity In Leadership: Conform to Rise

Dishan Kamdar, Associate Professor at the Indian School of Business discusses his paper "Recognising Creative Leadership: Can Creative Idea Expression Negatively Relate to Perceptions of Leadership Potential" that he co-authored with Professor Jan Mueller of the Wharton School and Professor Jack A Goncalo of Cornell University. This paper was published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 494-498

Creativity compels us to channel energy in myriad ways. Lady Gaga sings, Rahman composes, Rowling writes and Hussain paints. Researchers have tried to understand its source in order to help increase productivity. They have also studied its impact on businesses extensively because creativity fuels innovation, which is the fulcrum that lifts the economy. But as creativity gives, it also obfuscates. While many researchers have pointed out that creativity is the most valuable trait in leaders, we found in our studies that expression of creative ideas may reduce the judgments of leadership potential. Three studies on sample theories of creativity and leadership were conducted. All the studies indicated that there was a strong negative association between expressing creative ideas and leadership potential. This highlights an important but previously unidentified prejudice against selecting effective leaders.


  • Dishan-Kamdar-Author

    Dishan Kamdar

    Professor, Organisational Behaviour and Senior Associate Dean, Academic Programmes at the Indian School of Business (ISB).
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