Mueller's Study on Different Views of What Made a Product Creative Featured on Harvard Business Review

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A study by Jennifer Mueller, associate professor of management in the University of San Diego School of Business, has been published by the Harvard Business Review.

The article, titled "Chinese and American Consumers Have Different Ideas About What Makes a Product Creative," looks at the psychology of how cultures view creativity, including when they agree and disagree on what indicates creativity. Mueller's study, done in collaboration with Jeffrey Loewenstein, associate professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne, shows that both Chinese and American cultures agree an idea is creative if it includes:

  • Paradigm shift. A significant change in thinking that a product or process represents
  • Breakthrough. Doing something others failed to accomplish or did not think could be done
  • Potential. Future possibilities opened up as a result of the product or process
  • Rarity. The unusualness of a product or process
  • Repurposing. Taking something from one context and adapting it to a second
  • Surprise. The affective reaction something inspires, such as amazement or astonishment
  • Art. The aesthetics of the product or process
  • Combination. Integrating functions, features, or other aspects that are typically distinct
  • High tech. Concerned with the role of technology
  • Joy. Happiness or fun involved in engaging with something

Mueller teaches organizational behavior and leadership classes at both the undergraduate and MBA levels. Her research examines the costs and benefits of collaboration in teams, as well as the biases people have against creative ideas and creative people. She has published several articles in top management journals including: Academy of Management Journal, Administrative Science Quarterly, Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology and Psychological Science. She is currently on the editorial board of the Journal of Applied Psychology as well as Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.


Amy Schmitz
(619) 260-4658