Creative Self-Efficacy: Its Potential Antecedents and Relationship to Creative Performance

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<ul><li><p>Creative Self-Efficacy: Its Potential Antecedents and Relationship to Creative PerformanceAuthor(s): Pamela Tierney and Steven M. FarmerSource: The Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 45, No. 6 (Dec., 2002), pp. 1137-1148Published by: Academy of ManagementStable URL: .Accessed: 11/06/2014 11:18</p><p>Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms &amp; Conditions of Use, available at .</p><p> .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact</p><p> .</p><p>Academy of Management is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The Academyof Management Journal.</p><p> </p><p>This content downloaded from on Wed, 11 Jun 2014 11:18:03 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p></p></li><li><p>0 Academy of Management Journal 2002, Vol. 45, No. 6, 1137-1148. </p><p>CREATIVE SELF-EFFICACY: ITS POTENTIAL ANTECEDENTS AND RELATIONSHIP TO CREATIVE PERFORMANCE </p><p>PAMELA TIERNEY Portland State University </p><p>STEVEN M. FARMER Wichita State University </p><p>Using data from two different firms, this study tested a new construct, creative self- efficacy, tapping employees' beliefs that they can be creative in their work roles. Results support the discriminant validity of the construct and indicate that job tenure, job self-efficacy, supervisor behavior, and job complexity contribute to creative effi- cacy beliefs. Creative self-efficacy also predicted creative performance beyond the predictive effects of job self-efficacy. Differences in results between white-collar and blue-collar samples suggest considerations for both theory and practice. </p><p>Bandura (1997) cited strong self-efficacy as a nec- </p><p>essary condition for creative productivity and the </p><p>discovery of "new knowledge." Because self-effi- </p><p>cacy views influence the motivation and ability to </p><p>engage in specific behavior (Bandura, 1977), as well as the pursuit of certain tasks (Bandura, 1986), the concept of self-efficacy holds much promise for </p><p>understanding creative action in organizational set- </p><p>tings. In fact, Ford (1996) placed self-efficacy be- liefs as a key motivational component in his model of individual creative action. Despite the potential link of self-efficacy to creativity, little attention has been directed toward the concept in a creativity context. Accordingly, we conducted a preliminary investigation of creative self-efficacy focusing on three key issues. The first issue centered on under- </p><p>standing what factors contribute to employees' be- liefs that they can be creative in their work role. </p><p>Using a model of self-efficacy development (Gist &amp; Mitchell, 1992), we proposed a set of creativity- specific self-efficacy determinants theoretically de- rived from the integration of literature on self- </p><p>efficacy and creativity. The second issue was </p><p>establishing discriminant validity for this con- struct, as well as the criterion validity of creative </p><p>self-efficacy for creative performance across two diverse work settings. The third issue was explor- ing how job self-efficacy might moderate the effects of creative self-efficacy on creative performance. </p><p>The study should make several contributions. First, it introduces and develops a "self-construct," </p><p>The authors would like to thank John Sawyer, Talya Bauer, Greg Northcraft, and three anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions regarding an earlier version of this work. </p><p>creative self-efficacy, that may be a key personal attribute for creativity in the workplace. Second, it </p><p>provides the first field test of Ford's (1996) propo- sition that self-efficacy perceptions influence em- </p><p>ployee creativity. A third contribution of our study is that it addresses the joint impact of dual effica- cies in relation to creativity, providing a more com- </p><p>plex view of the self-efficacy-performance associ- ation. Although Bandura (1997) claimed that </p><p>multiple types of self-efficacy come into play for </p><p>performance in a given domain, few studies to date have examined the joint influence of more than one </p><p>specific type of self-efficacy on performance in a </p><p>corporate field setting. Because creativity in or- </p><p>ganizational contexts is often a choice (cf. Ford, 1996), our consideration of both general job capac- ity and creativity capacity could provide a partial explanation as to why employees often opt for rou- tine over novel performance. Fourth, we examine both personal and contextual sources of self-effi- </p><p>cacy formulation (Gist &amp; Mitchell, 1992) in a cre- </p><p>ativity performance context, thereby broadening the scope of self-efficacy application. Fifth, the </p><p>study complements, and augments, other lines of </p><p>creativity research in meaningful ways. As efficacy judgments constitute a self-regulatory concept in- herent in motivational processes (Bandura, 1977, 1986), the notion of creative self-efficacy may shed additional light on how intrinsic motivation (e.g., Amabile, 1983, 1997; Shalley &amp; Perry-Smith, 2001; Tierney, Farmer, &amp; Graen, 1999) and creativity-goal setting (e.g., Shalley, 1995) play out in terms of creative performance. Finally, studies examining either creativity or self-efficacy within multiple or- ganizational contexts are rare. Testing our study model in two distinct organizational contexts per- mitted examination of the cross-validity and gener- </p><p>1137 </p><p>This content downloaded from on Wed, 11 Jun 2014 11:18:03 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p></p></li><li><p>Academy of Management Journal </p><p>alizability of our proposed conceptual links, and it may further enrich current discussions regarding the context specificity of creative behavior (cf. Dra- zin, Glynn, &amp; Kazanjian, 1999; Ford &amp; Gioia, 2000; Shalley, Gilson, &amp; Blum, 2000). </p><p>THEORY AND HYPOTHESES </p><p>Definitional Issues </p><p>For creative performance, we relied on a product- oriented definition used in recent empirical studies (e.g., Oldham &amp; Cummings, 1996; Tierney et al., 1999) positioning creativity as the generation of domain-specific (cf. Ford, 1996), novel, and useful outcomes (Amabile, 1988). Efficacy measurement must be "tailored to the domain being studied" (Gist, 1987: 472) in terms of content as well as degree of specificity (Bandura, 1997). Although be- lief in task capacity is a requirement for task ac- complishment (Bandura, 1986), and being creative requires domain expertise and knowledge, creative performance also requires a set of skills specific to creativity (Amabile, 1988). It is plausible that indi- viduals can perform a job to standards but lack the ability-or, just as important, perceive themselves as lacking the ability-to be creative in that job. Also, given that novelty and value can be indepen- dent performance dimensions (Ford &amp; Gioia, 2000), it is likely that distinctions in capacity beliefs re- lated to the two performance domains will influ- ence the performance route (novel versus routine) employees will choose. Therefore, self-judgments of more general job efficacy and self-judgments of creative efficacy directed toward one's job should be delineated. Working from Bandura's general def- inition of self-efficacy as targeted perceived capac- ity, we defined creative self-efficacy as the belief one has the ability to produce creative outcomes. Creators possess a set of core self-concepts condu- cive to creative endeavors (Mumford &amp; Gustafson, 1988). Although our creative self-efficacy con- struct should fall within the self-image spectrum characterizing creative individuals (cf. Barron &amp; Harrington, 1981), it is also unique from other self-views. Whereas self-esteem and confidence are broad, generalized feelings, self-efficacy is a capacity judgment made in a more narrow arena (Bandura, 1997). Because it is creativity-specific, creative self-efficacy also differs from general self-efficacy, which reflects overall belief in one's capability across domains (Chen, Gully, &amp; Eden, 2001). </p><p>Antecedents to Creative Self-Efficacy </p><p>Building on the work of Bandura, Gist and Mitch- ell (1992) presented a model of work-related self- efficacy development with a typology of efficacy determinants. They noted that individuals engage in a process whereby they assess their personal and situational resources and constraints and subse- quently rely on these assessments to yield interpre- tive data they use to form personal efficacy judg- ments. We used Gist and Mitchell's model as the conceptual framework to guide our understanding and selection of creative self-efficacy determinants in work settings for our current study. To develop a preliminary nomological net specific to creative self-efficacy, we considered general determinants suggested by their model in light of previous work addressing creativity antecedents. Thus, we inves- tigated two personal sources of creative efficacy, job knowledge and job self-efficacy, and two con- textual sources, supervisor behavior and job com- plexity, as suggested by Gist and Mitchell (1992). </p><p>The role of knowledge. Because task knowledge is a stable, personal factor that shapes self-efficacy assessment (Gist &amp; Mitchell, 1992) and creativity performance (Amabile, 1983), we would expect to see an association between job-related knowledge and creative self-efficacy. Two sources of knowl- edge acquisition are job experience and formal ed- ucation. These facets represent personal resources available to an employee (Gist &amp; Mitchell, 1992) for creative performance. Research shows that extant experience in a particular field is necessary for creative success (Amabile, 1988) because immer- sion in a domain over time leads to the level of familiarity requisite for creative work (Weisberg, 1999). Although task familiarity could lead to more "habitual" performance (Ford, 1996), it also pro- vides ample opportunities to prepare for creativity through "deliberate practice" of task-domain skills and activities (Ericsson, Krampe, &amp; Clemens, 1993). Creativity also requires some sense of what has been done in the past within a domain (Bailyn, 1988) and what has historically constituted the sta- tus quo. As employees come to understand the nuances of their jobs, they are more likely to feel confident that they can be creative in their work roles. Education experiences are also basic to the development of creative tendencies and processes (Nickerson, 1999). This development may entail cognitive enhancement including an orientation to- ward use of diverse, multiple perspectives and in- creasingly complicated schema (Perkins, 1986). Education provides exposure to a variety of expe- riences, viewpoints, and knowledge bases, rein- forces the use of divergent problem-solving skills </p><p>1138 December </p><p>This content downloaded from on Wed, 11 Jun 2014 11:18:03 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p></p></li><li><p>Tierney and Farmer </p><p>and experimentation critical to innovative work (Amabile, 1988), and connects to employee creativ- ity (e.g., Amabile &amp; Gryskiewicz, 1987; Tierney et al., 1999). Given the noted association between cre- ativity and knowledge, and the fact that knowledge is an immediate and "directly accessible" cue for self-efficacy calculation (Gist &amp; Mitchell, 1992), we propose: </p><p>Hypothesis 1. Job tenure and education level will positively predict creative self-efficacy. The role of job self-efficacy. Gist and Mitchell </p><p>(1992) noted that variable dispositional states are another personal resource that influence employ- ees' self-efficacy judgments. It has been noted that efficacy views fall along a continuum from general to specific (Bandura, 1997), becoming statelike as they increase in specificity (Chen et al., 2001). Al- though creative self-efficacy is the central focus of our study, a second efficacy judgment also of inter- est is job self-efficacy, defined as an employee's view of his or her capacity to conduct the overall job. Because it is specific to a situation (that is, a job) and proximal to overall job performance, job self-efficacy would be considered a malleable em- ployee state (see Chen et al., 2001). In contrast to creative self-efficacy, job self-efficacy taps a more global perspective and has a different focus. There is a distinction between what it takes to do a job "well" and what it takes to do a job "creatively" (Amabile, 1988). Likewise, belief about performing a job well is not necessarily the same as belief in one's capacity to generate creative ideas for new products or processes in that work. Bandura sug- gested that efficacy beliefs do not exist in isolation and that a person may generalize from one efficacy belief to others related by "experience and reflec- tive thought" (1997: 50). He indicated that more general types of self-efficacy shape more specific types, a process that would suggest a link between job self-efficacy and creative self-efficacy. He also noted that attainment views can be perceived as indicating capacity in related domains. Because performance capability in a domain is a precursor to creative capability in that domain (Amabile, 1988), it is reasonable to posit that belief in one's ability to adequately do a job is necessary before one has confidence in an ability to be creative there. In that respect, a sense of general job efficacy may be necessary for the formulation of the more targeted, work-related, creative self-efficacy. </p><p>Hypothesis 2. Job self-efficacy will positively predict creative self-efficacy. The role of supervisor behavior. Employees also </p><p>collect information useful in forming efficacy </p><p>views from their interpersonal task environments (Gist &amp; Mitchell, 1992). Likewise, "an individual's development of a creative frame of reference does not take place in social isolation" (Drazin et al., 1999: 293), and employees rely on cues from mem- bers of their work environments to form views rel- evant to creative acts, including views of their own capability (Ford, 1996). It has been suggested that supervisors are integral in shaping employees' effi- cacy beliefs (Eden, 1990), and confidence-building behavior has been cited as a requirement for the effective management of employee creativity (Am- abile &amp; Gryskiewicz, 1987). Supervisors are a po- tential vehicle for two experiences that Bandura (1986) suggested play a key role in determining self-efficacy: vicarious learning, or "modeling," and verbal persuasion. Role modeling by supervi- sors is a fundamental con...</p></li></ul>


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