Receptivity of Japanese managers to creative problem solving experiential training

Basadur, M.S., Wakabayashi, M., and Takai, J. (1989). Receptivity of Japanese managers to creative problem solving experiential training. (In Japanese.) Japanese Journal of Administrative Behavior, Vol. 4 (2), pp 75-82.

Abstract

A field experiment investigated the effects of training on Japanese managers' attitudes toward divergent thinking. An experimental group (n =60) of managers underwent practice-oriented experiential training in creative problem solving. Two control groups underwent placebo treatments. The first (n = 15) was comprised of Japanese university faculty and graduate students who participated in an abstract discussion. The second (n=47) was comprised of Japanese assistant managers who experienced training in an unrelated subject. The three groups were measured before and after training on attitudes toward two aspects of divergent thinking: active divergence and premature convergence. The experimental group showed significant gains on both measures versus both placebo control groups. Compared to North American managers from similar studies, the Japanese managers appear to be at least equal on both attitudes in mean score and in gains made after training. This research indicates that applicability and receptivity of paradigms and methods of training in creativity and innovation may be at least as strong in Japanese business and industry as in North America. Also the Japanese translations of the two measures developed and used for the first time in this study appear to be good replicas of the English language versions. Some interesting differences between the two attitudes in gains after training and between the groups before training are identified as opportunities for future research. Potential mediators include Japanese cultural factors, profit versus non-profit organizational contexts, and different levels of responsibility.

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