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Running head: multicultural experience and creativity - does multicultural experience enhance creativity? If so, when, and how?

Author: Galinsky, Adam D. ; Maddux, William W. ; Leung, Angela K.-Y. ; Chiu, Chi-YueINSEAD Area: Organisational Behaviour Series: Working Paper ; 2007/58/OB Publisher: Fontainebleau : INSEAD, 2007.Language: EnglishDescription: 50 p.Type of document: INSEAD Working PaperAbstract: Many practices aiming to cultivate multicultural competence in educational and organizational settings (e.g., exchange programs, diversity education in college, diversity management at work), assume that multicultural experience fosters creativity. In line with this assumption, our research is the first to empirically demonstrate that exposure to multiple cultures, in and of itself, can enhance creativity. Overall, we have found that extensiveness of multicultural experiences is positively related to both creative performance (insight learning, remote association, and idea generation) and creativity supporting cognitive processes (retrieval of unconventional knowledge, recruitment of ideas from unfamiliar cultures for creative idea expansion). Furthermore, our studies show that the serendipitous creative benefits resulting from multicultural experiences may depend on the extent to which individuals adapt and open themselves to foreign cultures, and that creativity is facilitated in contexts that emphasize a multicultural learning mindset and deemphasize the need for firm answers or existential concerns. We discuss our findings' implications for promoting creativity in increasingly globalized learning and work environments.
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INSEAD Working Paper Asia Campus
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Print Available BC008067
INSEAD Working Paper Europe Campus
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Print Available BC008066
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Many practices aiming to cultivate multicultural competence in educational and organizational settings (e.g., exchange programs, diversity education in college, diversity management at work), assume that multicultural experience fosters creativity. In line with this assumption, our research is the first to empirically demonstrate that exposure to multiple cultures, in and of itself, can enhance creativity. Overall, we have found that extensiveness of multicultural experiences is positively related to both creative performance (insight learning, remote association, and idea generation) and creativity supporting cognitive processes (retrieval of unconventional knowledge, recruitment of ideas from unfamiliar cultures for creative idea expansion). Furthermore, our studies show that the serendipitous creative benefits resulting from multicultural experiences may depend on the extent to which individuals adapt and open themselves to foreign cultures, and that creativity is facilitated in contexts that emphasize a multicultural learning mindset and deemphasize the need for firm answers or existential concerns. We discuss our findings' implications for promoting creativity in increasingly globalized learning and work environments.

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