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Journal of Business and Psychology


Building on theories of sensemaking, this study demonstrates the importance of disentangling the creative process. Specifically, we show that the specific elements of the creative process (problem construction, information search and encoding, and idea generation) are differentially related to both antecedents and specific types of creative outcomes. Using survey data from employees and their supervisors from a wide variety of organizations, we found that leader creative expectations were more strongly related to idea generation than to problem construction and to information search and encoding. Job autonomy, in contrast, was significantly related to problem construction, but not to information search and encoding or idea generation. Furthermore, we found that although idea generation is positively related to both radical and incremental creativity, problem construction is only positively related to radical creativity. We discuss implications for the study of creative processes and creativity more generally.


This version of the article has been accepted for publication, after peer review (when applicable) and is subject to Springer Nature’s AM terms of use, but is not the Version of Record and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections. The Version of Record is available online at:

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