Organizational development interventions for enhancing creativity in the workplace

Basadur, M.S. (1997). Organizational development interventions for enhancing creativity in the workplace. Journal of Creative Behavior, Volume 31 (1), pp 59-72.


In an era of rapidly accelerating change, many organizations which developed during a more stable era that demanded bureaucratic efficiency find themselves in a crisis of adaptability and commitment. Effective organizations are those which can mainstream both adaptability and efficiency and strike an appropriate balance between the two. This paper evaluates traditional organizational development (OD) approaches to this problem, then presents a new approach to OD based on organizational creativity. Organizational creativity is defined as a deliberate and continuous change-making process of problem generation and formulation, problem solving, and solution implementation, and as synonymous with adaptability and innovation. Unlike traditional OD approaches that lack a strategic perspective and that rely on single interventions, OD should be employed as an innovation process requiring thinking skills in change-making and incorporating interventions as tools. Under the new approach, organizations can learn to mainstream adaptability by doing two things: encouraging employees to master new thinking skills which increases their creativity, motivation, and commitment; and creating an infrastructure that ensures that these skills will be used regularly. Research is reviewed supporting the new approach, and future research directions are suggested.

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