Working Papers

Create Idea Generation

Harmony versus Stimulation


The literature on maintaining versus changing membership of groups has generally favored stable membership, not only for cohesion and morale but for performance via comfort and shared experience. Extending such a notion to idea generation and brainstorming, one might expect that such stability of membership would simiarly result in comfor and morale and consequently a willingness to “freewheel,” to express ideas without undue concern for their value or reception. On the other hand, research on the stimulating properties of dissent, debate and diversity would argue for a change in membership in that it would provide access to differing views, it would lessen the impact of norms that hinder performance, and it could stimulate more divergent and creative thought. The present study investigated idea generation when membership maintained versus completeely changed. We predicted that maintaining membership would increase comfort and morale and also the perception of freedom and creativity but not necessarily creative behavior. Change membership, we predicted, would not serve feelings of comfort or morale nor perceptions of freedom and creativity but would in fact result in more creative behavior, that is, an increase in the number and creativity of the ideas generated. There predictions were supported.