The Agony and Ecstasy of Workplace Creativity: A Qualitative Study of How Facilitators View Affect in Helping Adults Learn Creativity

Open Access
Fleming, Kirk Donn
Graduate Program:
Adult Education
Doctor of Education
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
February 23, 2012
Committee Members:
  • Edward W Taylor, Committee Chair/Co-Chair
  • David Alan Morand, Committee Member
  • Margaret Cecilia Lohman, Committee Member
  • Robin Redmon Wright, Committee Member
  • creativity
  • innovation
  • learning
  • affect
  • emotion
  • workplace
  • education
  • training
  • facilitation
  • experiential
The business world is constantly striving for new, better, more efficient products and services. As such, the call for innovation rings out loud and clear throughout every industry and every workplace environment. As a foundation for innovation, creativity is typically positioned as a valued attribute, skill or behavior for adults in the workplace; and a variety of organizational decisions and efforts are made to acquire, support and sustain such capability. Creativity as a concept is complex, and as such, difficult to pinpoint. It is believed to be a combination of interacting phenomenon, including cognitive, affective, and meaning making processes. While much about creativity has been studied from a cognitive perspective, what is known about the role of affect is still clouded. From a practical perspective, organizations are still searching for ways to effectively foster creativity in the workplace. One of those ways that has found some success is viewing creativity as a learning process, and investing in facilitators who can help employees learn and practice creativity. While many of these learning interactions are driven by cognitive processes, affect does exist as well. To what extent emotion influences this learning process, and how facilitators may or may not use it, is not fully understood. This study views creativity at work through an affective lens; and uses a qualitative methodology to better understand how emotion influences facilitation of the learning of creative process. It is hoped that the detailed richness of the information collected and analyzed will better inform assumptions about how affect influences creativity, learning, and the learning of creativity.