This research investigates whether constructive criticism enhances creative performance within the relationship context of leaders and followers. Previous research on leadership and creativity defines creative products as novel and useful, but overlooks antecedents to creative action—the immediate precondition of creative products. Creative action, or creative performance, includes (1) identifying a problem, (2) searching for information, (3) generating solutions, and (4) evaluating the best solution. Previous research informs that three psychological mechanisms are responsible for creative actions: (1) sense-making, (2) motivation, and (3) knowledge processes. Constructive criticism is posited to act simultaneously on each of these processes to encourage creative performance across the creativity process. This relationship is hypothesized to be moderated by leader-member exchange. Furthermore, follower feedback-seeking behavior and learning goal orientation are also hypothesized to moderate the constructive criticism and creativity relationship. A series of moderated multiple regression analyses were conducted on survey data from 201 employees and 83 leader-follower dyads. Results indicate that constructive criticism has a null relationship with creativity, and may be detrimental to the in-role performance of followers. However, more nuanced analyses show that these relationships are to some degree moderated by leader-member exchange, the follower's learning goal orientation, and the follower's frequency of feedback seeking behavior.
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Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Sciences
Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Campus-only Access)
Burnell, Devin, "Does Constructive Criticism Boost Creativity? Examining the Moderating Role of Leader-Member Exchange, Learning Goal Orientation, and Feedback Seeking Behavior" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5873.
Restricted to the UCF community until May 2023; it will then be open access.