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Attitudes and Social Cognition

In: Business and Management

Submitted By sandesh999
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ATTITUDES AND SOCIAL COGNITION

The Dark Side of Creativity: Original Thinkers Can Be More Dishonest
Francesca Gino
Harvard University

Dan Ariely
Duke University

Creativity is a common aspiration for individuals, organizations, and societies. Here, however, we test whether creativity increases dishonesty. We propose that a creative personality and a creative mindset promote individuals’ ability to justify their behavior, which, in turn, leads to unethical behavior. In 5 studies, we show that participants with creative personalities tended to cheat more than less creative individuals and that dispositional creativity is a better predictor of unethical behavior than intelligence (Experiment 1). In addition, we find that participants who were primed to think creatively were more likely to behave dishonestly than those in a control condition (Experiment 2) and that greater ability to justify their dishonest behavior explained the link between creativity and increased dishonesty (Experiments 3 and 4). Finally, we demonstrate that dispositional creativity moderates the influence of temporarily priming creativity on dishonest behavior (Experiment 5). The results provide evidence for an association between creativity and dishonesty, thus highlighting a dark side of creativity. Keywords: creativity, ethics, morality, moral flexibility, unethical behavior

Evil always turns up in this world through some genius or other. —Denis Diderot (1713–1784)

The ability to generate novel ideas and think creatively about problems has long been considered an important skill for individuals as well as for organizations and societies. Creative thinking allows individuals to solve problems effectively (Mumford & Gustafson, 1988) and to remain flexible (Flach, 1990) so that they can cope with the opportunities and changes in their day-to-day lives (Runco, 2004). At a more macro...

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