Tensions and paradoxes in creativity and innovation

Kristina Potočnik*, Bart Verwaeren, Bernard Nijstad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Most often understood as the generation of novel and useful ideas and their implementation, research on creativity and innovation has mushroomed in recent years. Although these studies provided useful insights into how organizations can enhance both phenomena, there is a growing consensus in the literature suggesting that rather than inherently beneficial, creativity and innovation are in fact ripe with tensions and competing demands. These tensions may put individuals and teams under pressure as they try to a) come up with novel, but also useful and implementable ideas, b) complete their core tasks efficiently, but also suggest novel and useful ideas for their improvement, and c) bring uniqueness to the table, but at the same time form cohesive collectives. In this integrative review, we illustrate these tensions with research evidence and provide recommendations about how we can manage them in order to benefit from individual and team creative and innovative efforts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-163
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2022


  • creativity
  • innovation
  • tensions
  • paradoxes
  • competing demands


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