Creative self-efficacy and its factors: An empirical study of information system analysts and programmers

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    1. Introduction

    maintaHanniiguez-Ais base93). Amuenciobsernent in

    cacy and creativity, Tierney and Farmer (2002) employed the mod-el of self-efcacy developed by Gist and Mitchell (1992) to presenta creative self-efcacy construct, and discussed its potential pre-dictors (personal and contextual resources) and relationship withcreative performance. Based on their results, creative self-efcacy

    2.1. Creative self-efcacy of information systems developers

    2.1.1. Information systems developersPrior researches indicated that there are different roles of IS

    staff owing to their tasks. According to Lee, Trauth, and Farwell(1995), among the several types of IS professionals include pro-grammers, technical specialists, business/system analysts, end-user support consultants and computer operators, and data entryclerks. Moreover, Todd, McKeen, and Gallupe (1995) dened ISprofessionals as including programmers, system analysts and ISmanagers. This study focuses on examining creative self-efcacy

    * Corresponding author. Tel.: +886 2 29387651.E-mail addresses: yanh@nccu.edu.tw (H.-L. Yang), d92507@mis.nccu.edu.tw

    Computers in Human Behavior 25 (2009) 429438

    Contents lists availab

    Computers in Hu

    evi(H.-H. Cheng).Bandura (1997) also illustrated that self-efcacy belief is a majorimpetus for creative individual actions. Bandura (1986) denedself-efcacy as Peoples judgments of their capabilities to organizeand execute courses of action required to attain designated typesof performances. Restated, self-efcacy describes individual beliefin their capabilities to perform a particular behavior. Creativity is adomain-specic, subjective judgment regarding the novelty andvalue of an outcome of a specic action (Ford, 1996). People withhigh self-efcacy have intrinsic driver to develop novel and usefulideas such as creativity. Given the potential link between self-ef-

    ers is a source of innovation for software rms. To facilitateinnovation, software companies must understand the factors thatcontribute to the belief of IS developers who can be creative in theirwork roles. Accordingly, the purpose of this study is to explore thecorrelations and associations between several possible contextual/personal factors and creative self-efcacy of IS developers.

    2. Literature review and hypotheses developmentOrganizations must innovate tothe face of environmental stresses (Lee & Chang, 2007; Morcillo, RodrHowever, organizational innovationity (Woodman, Sawyer, & Grifn, 19that one of the important factors inual motivation. Ford (1996) furtheris an important motivational compo0747-5632/$ - see front matter 2008 Elsevier Ltd. Adoi:10.1016/j.chb.2008.10.005in their advantages innen & Kauranen, 2007;nton, & Rubio, 2007).d on individual creativ-abile (1997) indicated

    ng creativity is individ-ved strong self-efcacydeveloping creativity.

    appears to provide strong efcacy beliefs for enhancing creativebehaviors.

    Bandura (1997) further noted that efcacy views can be generalor specic. Specicity thus can be increased to transform self-ef-cacy from a general view into a specicmeasure that can be appliedin a narrow domain such as creativity area. Although Tierney andFarmer noted the signicance of personal and contextual resourcesfor forecasting individual creative self-efcacy, issues involvingspecic domains (e.g. information system) have been compara-tively neglected. The creativity of information systems (IS) develop- 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.Creative self-efcacy and its factors: Ansystem analysts and programmers

    Heng-Li Yang *, Hsiu-Hua ChengDepartment of MIS, National Cheng-Chi University, 64, Sec. 2, Chihnan Rd., Mucha Dist.

    a r t i c l e i n f o

    Article history:Available online 17 November 2008

    Keywords:Information systems developersCreative self-efcacySocial networkInformation technology skills

    a b s t r a c t

    Based on a survey of 94 incomputer self-efcacy anstrength of ties and degredemonstrate that systemself-efcacy. Domain-specdegree centrality. In compDegree centrality exertedthe strength of ties sligdomain-specic informatio

    journal homepage: www.elsll rights reserved.pirical study of information

    pei, 116, Taiwan

    ation systems developers, this study explored how personal factors (i.e.omain-specic information technology skills), contextual factors (i.e.ntrality) and creative self-efcacy are related. Regression analysis resultslysts and programmers differ in terms of inuencing factors on creativeskills were the main inuence in the system analyst model, followed byon, degree centrality was the only inuence in the programmer model.egative inuence in both groups. Additionally, among system analysts,inuenced creative self-efcacy, while computer self-efciency and

    echnology skills exerted only small inuences on programmers.

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  • and analyzing software packages.

    in Hin software development and concentrates on two main categoriesof IS professionals, system analysts and programmers. This studythus only considers two major categories of IS professionals, sys-tem analysts and programmers. The system analyst is responsiblefor dividing complex problems into several small and simple tasks,and for evaluating and designing system specications. Mean-while, the programmer is responsible for developing a system plat-form or components, and for coding and testing programsaccording to system analyst dened specications.

    Moreover, this study only addresses the development of soft-ware packages because IS developers, who develop software pack-ages, have more autonomy and more exibility to developcreativity than other IS developers developing custom-made infor-mation systems. Grudin (1991) explained that software packagedesign and information systems development differ in the relation-ships between developers and users. IS developers need to interactwith users directly to understand their requirements when devel-oping information systems. However, most software packagedevelopers are not directly connected to end-users, instead indi-rectly communicating with them through staff who sell productsor provide services to customers (Keil & Carmel, 1995). For exam-ple, during software package development, system analysts canuse their experience and knowledge to plan specications; pro-grammers have more autonomy to choose appropriate technolog-ical trends. However, custom-made IS developers have to followusers requirement to develop systems. Clearly, to meet market de-mand, IS developers of software package have more exibility inincubating ideas or procedures that are new, original, suitable oruseful for creativity (Oldham & Cummings, 1996).

    2.1.2. Creative self-efcacy of IS developers of software packagesBandura (1986) proposed self-efcacy through the frame of so-

    cial cognitive theory, and dened self-efcacy as follow:

    Self-efcacy as peoples judgments of their capabilities to orga-nize and execute courses of action required to attain designatedtypes of performances. It is concerned not with the skills onehas but with judgments of what one can do with whatever skillsone possesses.

    However, self-efcacy reects the general beliefs of individualsin their abilities across domains (Chen, Gully, & Eden, 2001). Tostudy creativity performance, which implies novel and valuableoutcomes, Tierney and Farmer (2002) developed specic self-ef-cacy, namely creativity self-efcacy, to judge capacities in a narrowdomain. Creative self-efcacy differs from creativity. Creativityindicates the generation of domain-specic, novel, and useful out-comes. In contrast, creative self-efcacy denotes the belief that onehas the ability to produce creative outcomes for the jobs. Self-ef-cacy is not concerned with past actions, but rather with the judg-ments regarding what could be done in the future (Compeau &Higgins, 1995).

    Although creativity and creative self-efcacy naturally differ,they are related. Oldham and Cummings (1996) dened the resultsof creativity to include outcomes, ideas or procedures that are new,original, suitable or valuable. Amabile (1988) dened creativity asnovel and useful results. Creative self-efcacy describes the beliefof an individual in his ability to generate creativity. Tierney andFarmer (2002) indicated creative self-efcacy as key inuence oncreativity. Creative self-efcacy is a form of self-evaluation thatinuences decisions regarding creative behaviors to undertake,the amount of effort and the persistence level when encounteringchallenges (Bandura, 1977).

    Different tasks of IS developers might require different types of

    430 H.-L. Yang, H.-H. Cheng / Computerscreativity and thus have different creative self-efcacy. This studythus denes the creative self-efcacy of IS developers as follows.2. The creative self-efcacy of a programmer refers to the beliefthat one has the ability to develop new and useful ideas or out-comes of platforms, components or programs during softwarepackage development.

    2.2. Possible factors to creative self-efcacy of IS developers

    Tierney and Farmer (2002) stated that individuals assess theirpersonal and contextual resources to form personal efcacy judg-ments. Therefore, while proposing the model for exploring the cre-ative self-efcacy of IS developers, this study addresses not onlypersonal resources (computer self-efcacy and domain-specic ITskills), but also contextual resources (the strength of ties and net-work positions).

    2.2.1. Computer self-efcacy and creative self-efcacyComputer self-efcacy indicates a judgment regarding the abil-

    ity of an individual to use a computer (Compeau & Higgins, 1995).Gist, Schwoerer, and Rosen (1989) expressed that computer self-efcacy is positively correlated with computer-related perfor-mance. Shin (2006) also demonstrated that computer self-efcacycould signicantly, positively and directly inuence the systemusage. In the computing eld, an individual with higher computerself-efcacy generally has greater condence in using advancedsoftware (Fagan, Neill, & Wooldridge, 2004). Amabile (1988) indi-cated that performance capability is required to achieve creativecapability in a domain. An IS developer with higher computerself-efcacy has more condence in his computer using ability; isunrestricted by existing IT; can quickly learn new skills, and cando his job well. IS workers with high computer self-efcacy mayhave high creative self-efcacy. Therefore, we posit that a correla-tion exists between computer self-efcacy and creative self-ef-cacy in IS developers.

    The dissimilarity in the jobs of system analysts and program-mers may moderate the relationship between computer self-ef-cacy and creative self-efcacy. Programmers stress technicalskills, while system analysts value systems analysis and designskills (Todd et al., 1995). Although system analysts rarely adoptIT for direct software package development, they still need tounderstand the degree to which using IT to develop software pack-ages can support business ow. Programmers apply IT for softwarepackage development. Programmers with high computer self-ef-cacy in encountering work difculties are more condent in learn-ing diverse IT and using different IT to effectively perform theirwork, thus possibly upgrading their beliefs regarding creativity.Therefore, Hypotheses 1a and 1b are presented with regard tothe relationships between computer self-efcacy and creativeself-efcacy.

    Hypothesis 1a. A correlation exists between computer self-ef-cacy and creative self-efcacy in system analysts.

    Hypothesis 1b. A correlation exists between computer self-ef-cacy and creative self-efcacy in programmers.

    2.2.2. Domain-specic IT skills and creative self-efcacyIncreasing domain knowledge can develop or verify workable

    ideas, and can also inuence creativity (Simonton, 1999). Sternberg1. The creative self-efcacy of a system analyst refers to the beliefof an individual in his ability to develop novel and useful ideasregarding system ows or system specications when planning

    uman Behavior 25 (2009) 429438and Lubart (1995) and Gardner (1993) observed that domainknowledge inuences creativity. Moreover, Gist and Mitchell

  • Miranda, Robichaux, and Seerley (1990) concluded that program-

    ever, the importance of strong ties increases in situations involving

    in Hmers should carefully consider applications of programminglanguages, as well as databases and operating systems. When con-fronting development problems, programmers who deeply under-stand the technology of development software have morecondence in adopting diverse language syntax and logic to solveproblems by developing creative concepts.

    This study denes the domain-specic IT skills of two IS devel-opers as follows.

    1. The domain-specic IT skills of a system analyst include sys-tems analysis and design.

    2. The domain-specic IT skills of a programmer include knowl-edge of programming languages, databases and operatingsystems.

    Additionally, these relationships are studied in relation to thefollowing hypotheses.

    Hypothesis 2a. A correlation exists between domain-specic ITskills of systems analysts and their creative self-efcacy.

    Hypothesis 2b. A correlation exists between domain-specic ITskills of programmers and their creative self-efcacy.

    2.2.3. The strength of ties and creativityGist and Mitchell (1992) indicated that people may obtain

    information to form self-efcacy views based on observation ofothers. Bandura (1988) showed that people partly judge theircapabilities in comparison with others. Individuals can observethe behaviors of others through their interpersonal interactions.Furthermore, people can acquire diverse information via theirinterpersonal networks. Abundant and high quality informationhelps individuals to think broadly and combine existing ap-proaches into something new and unique (Perry-Smith & Shalley,2003). The social network theory denes human interaction as atie (Granovetter, 1973; Levin & Cross, 2004). Interaction in a socialnetwork not only indicates communication, but also illustratesthat a personal network is formed by interaction among individu-als (Freeman, 1979). This study thus addresses social networkcharacteristics as critical contextual resources.

    The strength of ties is the rst proposed contextual resource.Here a tie refers to a connection between two actors, such as indi-viduals, groups or organizations (Wasserman & Faust, 1994). Ties(1992) concluded that knowledge drives efcacy judgment.Tierney and Farmer (2002) also demonstrated a correlation be-tween the role of knowledge and creative self-efcacy. IS develop-ers with more IT knowledge and skills are more likely to feelcondent that they can be creative in their work roles. Therefore,this study hypothesizes the existence of a correlation betweendomain-specic IT skills and creative self-efcacy in developers.

    The computer skills required by IS developers differ accordingto the domain in which they are working (Benbasat, Dexter, &Mantha, 1980). Researchers expressed the skills required for sy...

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