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Stapley, L. (2014). Creativity: The Psychological, Social, and Political Risks. Organ. Soc. Dyn., 14(1):154-167.

(2014). Organizational and Social Dynamics, 14(1):154-167

Creativity: The Psychological, Social, and Political Risks

Lionel Stapley, MSc, Ph.D.

The purpose of this paper is to explore and develop an understanding of the risks associated with creativity. The paper will start with an explanation of creativity, here seen as not something limited to a special class of people or to special products but rather something possessed by all. It will then show that while the oft applied notion of play may be relevant, other factors such as a compulsion to create, the need for leadership, and the use of power to bring creations into being, result in psychological, social, and political risks that can internally (mainly psychologically), or externally (socially and politically), inhibit or even kill off the creative process. To illustrate the level of risk involved I will apply the theoretical to various vignettes, some personal arising from consultancy assignments, others will be applied to more well-known examples. I shall also touch on the need for leadership, self-awareness, and the creation of a facilitating environment, as a means of avoiding or minimising the risks.

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