Examining the Creative Process in Design Teams: The Interplay of Individual Characteristics, Team Conflict, and Team Climate for Innovation

Open Access
Fairchild, Joshua Alexander Lubitz
Graduate Program:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
May 13, 2011
Committee Members:
  • Samuel Todd Hunter, Thesis Advisor
  • Team Conflict
  • Creativity
  • Innovation
  • Team Climate
Modern organizations often place great value in both teamwork and creative performance. However, the characteristics that drive individual creative performance may not lead to successful innovation at the team level. This study examined 55 teams of engineering students in order to ascertain what individual and team-level factors drive team creative performance. Results indicated that individual differences had little direct effect on team creative performance. Instead, complex relationships among individual characteristics, team conflict, and team climate emerged. In particular, an unexpected interaction between participative safety and team task conflict was found to impact creative performance. These results suggest that team creative performance must be understood as an intricate set of multilevel phenomena. Organizations desiring creative performance from teams of employees must be cognizant of these complexities.