Quotation Speckbacher, Gerhard. 2021. Does performance evaluation kill creativity? A (re)interpretation of existing literature. Pacific Accounting Review. 33 (1)




Purpose Enabling employee creativity and channeling the creativity of employees toward process and product innovations is a starting point of value creation processes and strategy maps. The dominant view in early creativity research seemed to be that creativity and control are inconsistent. More recently, a number of studies have come to acknowledge that performance evaluations (and rewards linked to such evaluations) may well have positive effects on creativity. This paper aims to review existing results on the effects of performance evaluations on creativity from the perspectives of different research streams. Design/methodology/approach This paper analyzes a stream of research in social psychology which has promoted the notion of an overall negative effect of performance evaluations on creativity. The (reinterpreted) results from this research stream are contrasted with findings from the behaviorist perspective and with research in management accounting. Findings The review of the different research traditions in the analysis of the effects of performance evaluations on creativity indicates that the seemingly contradictory empirical results can be explained by the different settings used and by the different ways how performance evaluations and linked rewards are conceptualized. Originality/value The paper clarifies that, in contrast to common beliefs, performance evaluations and linked incentives do not kill creativity in general. Performance evaluations and incentives can support creativity and innovation if they are transparent about what kind of creativity is desired and how such creativity is measured and rewarded. Moreover, incentives can effectively support behaviors that are known to be important within creativity and innovation processes.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Pacific Accounting Review
Language English
Title Does performance evaluation kill creativity? A (re)interpretation of existing literature
Volume 33
Number 1
Year 2021
Reviewed? Y
URL https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/PAR-09-2020-0150/full/html
DOI https://doi.org/10.1108/PAR-09-2020-0150
Open Access N


Speckbacher, Gerhard (Details)
Department of Strategy and Innovation DP (Details)
Competence Center for Sustainability Transformation and Responsibility WE (Details)
Institute for Strategy and Managerial Accounting (Speckbacher) (Details)
Research areas (Ă–STAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
5307 Business and management economics (Details)
5333 Business management (Details)
5359 Controlling (Details)
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