Creativity and Control: A Paradox. Evidence from the Levers of Control Framework

48 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2014 Last revised: 13 Nov 2014

See all articles by Roland F. Spekle

Roland F. Spekle

Nyenrode Business University

Hilco J. van Elten

Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management

Sally K. Widener

Clemson University

Date Written: August 14, 2014

Abstract

Both control and creativity are important drivers of organizational success. However, often they are regarded as conflicting organizational aspects with differing aims. We use the Levers of Control (LoC) framework to examine the relationships between a system of controls, empowerment, and creativity. Using survey data from 233 Business Unit managers, a structural equation model shows that the intensity of use of a LoC system of controls is positively associated with both empowerment and creativity. The implication is that the LoC system provides an environment that is rich with information and motivates employees to take action in directed ways. This environment facilitates employees’ perception that they have the ability to take actions, make decisions, and produce novel ideas. We conclude that there is not a conflict between control and creativity per se. Rather, paradoxically, creativity can flourish in the presence of control.

Keywords: management control, system of controls, creativity, empowerment, levers of control

JEL Classification: M40, L20

Suggested Citation

Spekle, Roland F. and van Elten, Hilco J. and Widener, Sally K., Creativity and Control: A Paradox. Evidence from the Levers of Control Framework (August 14, 2014). AAA 2015 Management Accounting Section (MAS) Meeting, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2480471 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2480471

Roland F. Spekle

Nyenrode Business University ( email )

Straatweg 25
P.O. Box 130
Breukelen, 3620 AC
Netherlands

Hilco J. Van Elten

Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management ( email )

Netherlands

Sally K. Widener (Contact Author)

Clemson University ( email )

Clemson, SC 29634
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
1,026
Abstract Views
3,873
rank
27,107
PlumX Metrics