The Role of Affect in Creative Projects and Exploratory Search

Posted: 22 Jun 2008

See all articles by Paul S. Adler

Paul S. Adler

University of Southern California

David Obstfeld

University of California, Irvine

Date Written: February 2007

Abstract

The theory of creativity and exploratory search developed by Simon, March, and their followers in the Carnegie school relies on a coolly cognitive account of motivation. We argue that a more robust theory would give affect greater prominence. Our approach is inspired by Dewey's ( Human Nature and Conduct. Prometheus: Amherst, MA) analysis of the three components of human conduct habit, intelligence, and impulse, where impulse is Dewey's term for affect. The Carnegie approach incorporates the first two, but has little to say about the third. We review literature on affect in psychology, psychodynamics, and neurobiology, showing how it allows us to characterize more effectively the motivational underpinnings of individual creativity and collective creative projects. This in turn enables us to sketch the key role of affect in exploratory search as compared to other domains of organizational activity.

Suggested Citation

ADLER, PAUL S. and Obstfeld, David, The Role of Affect in Creative Projects and Exploratory Search (February 2007). Industrial and Corporate Change, Vol. 16, Issue 1, pp. 19-50, 2007, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1149206 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icc/dtl032

PAUL S. ADLER (Contact Author)

University of Southern California

David Obstfeld

University of California, Irvine ( email )

Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 62697-3125

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