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New Publication on the Nature of Ideas in Creative Work

Published: 04-04-2022

Research on creativity and innovation commonly studies the way people generate, evaluate, select, or implement ideas. But what are ideas in the first place? Surprisingly, this question is rarely addressed in the research literature. In an interdisciplinary review for Academy of Management Annals, Mel Hua, Sarah Harvey, and Eric Rietzschel develop a ‘wave-particle duality’ model of the way ideas are conceptualized and operationalized in the research literature, and discuss how this model could move research and practice forward.

The article can be found here.



New ideas are central to a wide array of organizational phenomena and research that involve creativity and innovation. Yet, there is little consensus on what the concept of ‘ideas’ means, with a broad range of creative outputs being conceptualized as ideas. This fragmentation makes it challenging to compare studies and build a cumulative base of knowledge. To integrate different streams of organizational research and develop a framework for categorizing and understanding ideas, we reviewed papers across creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship, design, knowledge creation, and network studies. We propose a wave-particle duality framework for understanding and integrating two distinct approaches to studying ideas.