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Componential Theory of Creativity

Innovation refers to adapting knowledge and innovative ideas to the organization's benefit. It is the process that transforms different ideas into marketable values (Amabile 2011). Innovation in entrepreneurship leads to creative development because it enhances a brand's creativity, nature, and design innovation. Entrepreneurship opens various doors for opportunities, and it gives durability to the organization for continuous improvement. It also helps in making the best use of existing products. It increases the business's efficiency and attracts a better staff environment (Amabile 2011). The main goal of business innovation is to increase revenue, and innovation keeps organizations relevant in the industry. The world is constantly changing, and businesses need to adopt technology to stay relevant and competitive in the industry. Some facts show that more than 90 per cent of the world's data has been created in two years. Every minute 570 websites are formed; the internet will connect around 8 billion devices by 2021. The factors that enhance creativity are lack of direction, fear of failure, the environment's poor culture and organization's inadequate resources, lack of autonomy, and unclear decisions that inhibit creativity (Amabile 1983). The componential theory of creativity is a wide-ranging model containing psychological and social components essential for individuals in delivering creative work (Ginns et al. 2021). This theory is related to the imagination in producing ideas or outcomes interrelated with the same goal. This theory shows the necessary four components of any creative process; relevant skills in the domain, appropriate process in creativity, three intrinsic task motivations, and one component outside the individual (Amabile 1983). Kirton's adoption theory claims the individual approach in solving the problem, which is placed on a continuum ranging from higher adaptation to higher innovation. This theory is founded on a people assumption that helps solve problems differently. And increase creativity. This report will further shed light on the componential theory of creativities, insightful points and determinants of individual creativity and the approach of componential theory in managing people while developing a creative organizational climate. And in part two, this report shows Kirton's adaptation- theory, insightful points and cognitive style differences, how people manage their contribution at work while working with other people in the organization.

There are mainly six main models that contribute to the organization's creativity: thinking styles, personality, knowledge, intelligence, and environmental factors that contribute to the organization's creativity. The componential theory of creativity is an inclusive model of psychological and social components that helps the individual produce creative work in the organization. This theory is related to the definition of creativity in producing different ideas and outcomes in achieving the organization's goals (Lubart 1999). Three components of creativity are creative-thinking skills, expertise, and motivation. The importance of componential analysis is to analyze the words in different components and establish a systematic approach for working vertically with relatable attributes.

Individual creativity is the ability to develop a different way of solving economic and social problems by innovating new creative ideas (Sung and Choi 2009). Individual creativity comes with using the mind to generate original or natural processes to achieve the organization's goals. In today's era, the business environment is becoming competitive. This forced organizations to advance their products and services. The organization faces pressure to adopt new technologies through creativity and innovation in the environment (Sung and Choi 2009).

Insightful points in Individual Creativity

Individual creativity determinants are a leading factor in solving problems by creative approaches. The major factors associated with determinants of individual creativity are intelligence, knowledge, personality, motivation, and environment (Sung and Choi 2009).

a) Personality- personality refers to differences in the individual in patterns like feeling, behaving and thinking. The personality of an individual is the major determinant of individual creativity. Personality has been predictably and frequently associated with the achievement of creativity (Sung and Choi 2009). In 1983 Amabile stat that individuals have certain abilities and traits favourable for creativity. This helps in achieving creative results that is dependent upon intrinsic motivation. In recent years, several global crises have led to a downturn in the economic conditions of the countries in the world. Thus, it has become a big challenge for most organizations to remain profitable in the markets. Organizations and their employees must stay creative and innovative, which helps achieve their goals (Sung and Choi 2009). 

Traits Interaction Model

Figure: 1 Traits Interaction Model

Source: (Sung and Choi 2009)

Five traits of creative performance are: - (Sung and Choi 2009).

1) Extraversion- It reflects the tendencies of the individuals to be ambitious, enthusiastic, and energetic. People with high extraversion seek attention more than individuals with low extraversion are quiet and reserved. Creativity results in proactive behaviour like coming up with different ideas and actively engaging in the task.

2) Agreeableness refers to individuals trusting, courteous, and cooperative. Those individuals who score high agreeableness are considerate, tolerant, and good-natured people, compared to people who have less agreeableness are more suspicious, self-centred, and manipulative.

3) Conscientiousness- It refers to the degree to which people are hardworking, purposeful, persistent, and individuals are striving for achievement. Research statistics show that people who are high in conscientiousness will set clear goals with their direct efforts compared to less conscientious people.

4) Emotional Stability- It measures people's security and calmness. Individuals with high emotional stability are self-confident and relaxed, and people with less emotional stability are depressed, insecure, and fearful.

5) Openness to Experience
- this is the most frequently invested factor among all five-factor, and this factor received regular empirical support as the predictor of creativity. Openness to experience refers to individuals who are broad-minded, imaginative, etc.    

b) Intelligence – Research found that people who have an IQ of 120 or more have an advanced level of innovation and creativity. Thus, creativity and intelligence are interrelated with each other. It is the ability to solve complex problems more creatively and advanced way. It helps in developing new ideas in the organization. Creativity and intelligence contribute to each other with different abilities (Sung and Choi 2009).

c) Environment- Social environment includes factors like competition, incentives, and surveillance, making individuals work more or less creatively in the organization.   

Social Environment Factors

Figure: 2 Social Environment Factors

Source: (Amabile and Pratt 2016)

In the componential theory of creativity, the social environment is considered an external component in the work environment. Intrinsic motivation underlines all extrinsic motivation and various other factors that block creativity, such as; political difficulties facing the organization, criticizing new ideas, low-risk attitude in top management and extreme time pressure (Amabile and Pratt 2016).

Determinants of Individual Creativity

d) Thinking- Creative thinking ideas help generate new ideas in more innovative ways in the organization. It helps in solving problems from a fresh perspective. Thinking creatively helps solve problems in more innovative ways, challenging with own assumptions, mentally sharp, and helps become more optimistic. Through creative thinking, individuals intestinally gain new insights through their current information. It helps in viewing things in a new perspective way to solve problems creatively. (Amabile and Pratt 2016). Research shows that 61% of employees are come up with new creative ways in the organization while 30% discuss new ideas daily. Thinking is classified into divergent and convergent thinking. Divergent thinking is a session of traditional brainstorming, and it helps in coming up with the new possible solution as individual imagination allows. At the same time, convergent thinking is a logical approach that encourages people in gathering facts information then discover the most common solution to the problem. Inspirational thinking focuses on the best-case scenarios in solving problems in innovative ways. In this way, creative thinking plays a very important role in the componential theory of creativity (Amabile and Pratt 2016).

Task Motivation depends on intrinsic motivation, constraints of extrinsic and rewards, and helps reduce the constraints (Amabile 1988). According to the componential model of creativity, these skills are operationalized in creating new work. People are more creative when they feel motivated, increasing their interest and satisfaction. The task motivation process first identifies the problem, then starts preparing to solve problems more constructively and analyses the possible outcomes in completing the task. It is the style of leadership that concentrates on structured based tasks for setting goals giving feedback. It is also called task-oriented, study motivated (Amabile 1988). The motivation behind taking a commission and initiating working to solve a particular problem because the task is challenging personally, involving, interesting, or satisfying rather than undertaking extrinsic motivation of completing tasks comes from rewards, competition, surveillance, or requirements for doing homework in a certain way (Amabile and Pratt 2016).

 All determinants of individual creativity play a major factor in managing individuals in the organizational climate (Amabile 1988). Creativity is the essential characteristic of leaders that fosters and boosts the organisation's performance. It opens the doors for opportunities in achieving goals, solving problems, and inspiring every team member in finding creative ways in doing tasks. It helps in developing more imaginative ideas and creates a collaborative work environment. Componential theory of creativity in managing other people and developing a creative organizational climate (Amabile 1988). A significant component of innovative development of climate is: - Challenging environment- when the environment is more complex, challenging and tasks are interesting with goals of intrinsic motivation, which is a critical component of creativity. Purposes and functions should not be too devastating because sometimes challenging risk becomes an obstacle that effectively stiffens the inspiration behind the invention. Flexibility and risk-taking factor- the reality of creative endeavours is essentially uncertain. There is no valid proof that ensures the innovation guaranteed leads to success in the organization. Research shows that tolerating risk, not diminishing, is the best practical strategy (Davis 1999). So, organizations must allow chance and inspire experiments and failure. When all employees start experiencing the joy of togetherness with a common goal, positive interpersonal exchange will benefit team performance and help all organization members (Davis 1999). 

The most insightful points in the cognitive style of differences are becoming globally diversified and handling organisational change. A diversified environment brings a challenge to the leaders (Stum 2009). Many authors used the KAI tool to improve their understanding of cognitive styles differing. The author has also stated that to increase the efficiency of the complex environment revealed, and variations are used in adapting innovation in the workplace. Individuals need to understand the potential and tendencies of the team members for communicating effectively. Kirton suggested that his theory teaches diversity in the organization that replaces simple tolerance. Problems arise in the complex environment. By keeping these things in mind, Kirton stated, with availability of approach in diversity and diversity of people that can helps in readily managing them for common goods. KAI helps the organization in team characteristics by shifting diversity from the potential threat (Stum 2009).

Tullett(1995) explored project managers in differences among males and females. KIA innovative theory gives a higher score to women as compared to men. The author also asserted that women's need to demonstrate higher innovative characteristics was into advanced-level leadership (Stum 2009). Females are moving into the management process; they are also crossing the boundaries of managerial groups. Women are not equally represented in leadership in management society (UK). This requires more innovative leanings that is exhibited between female project managers. Tulett's study also highlights that it is needed to understand the distinctions of values and culture of every person in cognitive style irrespective of gender (Stum 2009).  While studying the process of cognitive preferences and different preferences of helping individuals find ways of beneficial collaboration and mutually fruitful that is judgmentally needed in future that is velvet of the revolution. KAI theory helps in re-establishing democratic principles in the everyday life of the people, where tolerance has a variety of views and mutual respect (Stum 2009).

Cognitive style in change occurs with the increase in globalization because the organisation's cultures are quickly changing (Stum 2009).  Kirton says that team members need to create a broader consensus for good leadership. Leaders should consider their goals in broadening their circle of individuals who feel that they contribute to the organisation's common goals. The author promoted KAI theory in navigating a fast change in the organizational climate. The author observed that KIA stabilities existing research that helps in promoting innovation which plays a key role in team/organizational success (Stum 2009).  KAI valued every individual as an effective problem solver and change agent. Adaptive entrepreneurs are more successful in the long draw. The successful set-up comes from innovative leaders who foresee the future, managing day-to-day tasks by adaptive leaders. KAI theory provides a stable view of the cognitive styles of every individual. Tullet utilized KAI theory in researching change management effectively (Stum 2009).

How will your understanding of adaption-innovation theory change your approach to managing your contribution at work, managing other people, and working with other people will be addressed?

It is very useful for various methods and people that are available. This helps in managing people for the common goal in the organization (KAI 2021?). About KAI, KAI, viewed 4 September 2021, <>.  Leadership's purpose was to expand the circle of the individuals, people who believe that they can contribute directly to the organisation's common goals (KAI 2021?).  This knowledge supports the idea of cognitive styles in every individual working with other styles in balancing for the productive organization. Author theory supports the idea that team leaders and managers should learn how to guide and mentor people and assign tasks on problem-solving styles and levels, which leads to improvement in the organisation's performance as a whole. Knowledge of innovators, adaptors, and facilitators helps support leaders in various organisations and teams while addressing transformation needs (KAI 2021?).  Adoptive-innovation theory differentiates between creative style and level, problem-solving and decision-making. Individuals who are creative solve issues and make decisions on a wide scale and lower their unique manner based on ability. KAI is designed in assisting people, groups, and the likely behaviour of others and themselves. This asset in creating better performance by recognising the uniqueness in the organization (KAI 2021?).

Adaption-innovation theory helps organisations understand how they solve their problems and have proper interaction when making decisions in the organization. This will increase the cohesiveness and dynamics of the teams by using theory knowledge (KAI 2021?).  It will help supervisors and managers reduce their tension in a team. While having creative activities or projects for employees helps assist their style of generating and thinking unique ideas, which helps complete their tasks. 


The componential theory is very important for managers and practitioners are relies on the tools and approaches of creativity and innovation in their organization. This theory applies to the monarchy of human activities, which are basic processes and components in the organization. The work environment components in the organization have features like team dynamics and behaviour of the top management. The environment directly influences intrinsic motivation. The work environment directly affects domain-relevant skills and the relevant-creativity process, and it also affects the inherent basis of the domain. Kirton's main aim was to promote every person is creative within their cognitive style. Every cognitive style is crucial in the organization. It will give benefit in every possible way. Kirton's theory helps managers deal with the gaps between the organisation's cognitive gaps. Managing various cognitive styles is becoming important for leaders because the environment diversifies and changes the organizational climate. This theory assists leaders and managers in valuing both sides of the mental gap, from different backgrounds to different ideas in the process of change. While understanding adopters, facilitators, and innovators benefit leaders in navigating organizations and teams where changes are needed. Kirton's theory is very beneficial in understanding volunteers in fulfilling demands and roles in the organization. Kirton's has been researched for over 30 years, but advancements are still in progress. Future research also shows that multi-cultural teams of case studies work together to achieve the organization's common goals.


Amabile, T., 2011. Componential theory of creativity pp. 538-559. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School. 

Stum, J 2009, Kirton’s Adaption-Innovation Theory: Managing Cognitive Styles in Times of Diversity and Change, Emerging Leadership Journeys, vol.2 no.1, pp. 66-78. 

Amabile, T.M., 1983. The social psychology of creativity: A componential conceptualization. Journal of personality and social psychology, vol. 45 no.2, pp.357. 

KAI c 2021?, About KAI, KAI, viewed 4 September 2021, <>.

Sung, S.Y. and Choi, J.N., 2009. Do big five personality factors affect individual creativity? The moderating role of extrinsic motivation. Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal, 37(7), pp.941-956. 

Amabile, T.M., 1988. A model of creativity and innovation in organizations. Research in organizational behavior, 10(1), pp.123-167. 

Lubart, T.I., 1999. Componential models. Encyclopedia of creativity, vol.1, pp.295-300. 

Ginns, P., Freebody, K., Anderson, M. and O'Connor, P., 2021. Student experience of creativity in Australian high school classrooms: A componential model. Learning and Individual Differences, vol. 91, pp.102057. 

Amabile, T.M. and Pratt, M.G., 2016. The dynamic componential model of creativity and innovation. Organizations: Making progress, making meaning. Research in Organizational Behaviour, vol. 36, pp.157-183.

Amabile, T.M., 1988. A model of creativity and innovation in organizations. Research in organizational behavior, vol.10 no1, pp.123-167.

Davis, G.A., 1999. Barriers to creativity and creative attitudes. In: Runco, M.A., & Pritzker, S.R. (ed.) of creativity, vol.1, pp.165-174.

Goldsmith, R.E. and Kerr, J.R., 1991. Entrepreneurship and adaption-innovation theory. Technovation, vol.11 no.6, pp.373-382. 

Stum, J., 2009. Kirton's adaption-innovation theory: managing cognitive styles in times of diversity and change. Emerging Leadership Journeys, vol.2 no1, pp.66-78. 

Mudd, S., 1995. Kirton adaption-innovation theory: organizational implications. Technovation, vol.15 no.3, pp.165-175. 

Chilton, M.A. and Bloodgood, J.M., 2010. Adaption?innovation theory and knowledge use in organizations. Management Decision. 

Bobic, M., Davis, E. and Cunningham, R., 1999. The Kirton adaptation-innovation inventory: validity issues, practical questions. Review of Public Personnel Administration, vol.19 no2, pp.18-31.

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