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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1738311
 
 

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The Dark Side of Creativity: Original Thinkers Can Be More Dishonest


Francesca Gino


Harvard University - Harvard Business School

Dan Ariely


Duke University - Fuqua School of Business

January 11, 2011

Harvard Business School NOM Unit Working Paper No. 11-064

Abstract:     
Creativity is a common aspiration for individuals, organizations, and societies. Here, however, we test whether creativity increases dishonesty. We propose that a creative personality and creativity primes promote individuals’ motivation to think outside the box and that this increased motivation leads to unethical behavior. In four studies, we show that participants with creative personalities who scored high on a test measuring divergent thinking tended to cheat more (Study 1); that dispositional creativity is a better predictor of unethical behavior than intelligence (Study 2); and that participants who were primed to think creatively were more likely to behave dishonestly because of their creativity motivation (Study 3) and greater ability to justify their dishonest behavior (Study 4). Finally, a field study constructively replicates these effects and demonstrates that individuals who work in more creative positions are also more morally flexible (Study 5). The results provide evidence for an association between creativity and dishonesty, thus highlighting a dark side of creativity.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 47

Keywords: creativity, creative thinking, dishonesty, intelligence, unethical behavior

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Date posted: January 12, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Gino, Francesca and Ariely, Dan, The Dark Side of Creativity: Original Thinkers Can Be More Dishonest (January 11, 2011). Harvard Business School NOM Unit Working Paper No. 11-064. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1738311 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1738311

Contact Information

Francesca Gino (Contact Author)
Harvard University - Harvard Business School ( email )
Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States
Dan Ariely
Duke University - Fuqua School of Business ( email )
Box 90120
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States
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