Creativity, Communicability and Organizational Culture: an Introduction to the Study of Hierarchy as Both a Facilitator and Constraint in Organizational Change

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Abstract

How can hierarchy influence individual creativity in the work environment? In the contemporary literature about creativity in organizations sometimes factors like this are considered constraints. However, the question remains as to how the meaning of hierarchy can change or what causes changes in a given organizational culture. This paper aims to document these processes in a Brazilian public organization, by considering the creative actions of employees, in particular those meant to enhance communicability or the potential for making communication effective. To reach this goal, thematic content analysis was applied to individual interviews of two employees. Considering the contradictions and ambiguities in their discourses and actions, the results point to the fact that environmental factors like hierarchy can change their meaning according to employees’ actions and interactions with colleagues and managers. This makes the communication stimulating or constraining for creativity, at least as expressed in the generation of new meanings or novelties. Thus, the practical question to reflect upon becomes: how can individual actions change the meaning of hierarchy and make the work environment more favorable to creativity?

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