With organizations’ rising interest in creativity as one of the most sought out skill sets for graduates, it has become crucial to infuse creativity training in academic programs. This study evaluated freshmen business students’ perceptions about their personal, everyday creativity and examined the influence of infusing creativity training in their freshmen seminar course.
This action research study drew upon the intersection of three creative self-belief theories from management and education psychology literature: Jaussi, et al (2007) Creative Identity Theory; Karwowski (2014) Creative Mindset Theory; and Tierney & Farmer (2002) Creative Self-efficacy Theory. These theories arguably stemmed from Burke (1991) Identity Theory; Dweck (2006) Mindset Theory; and Bandura (1977, 1997) Self-efficacy Theory, respectively. This approach was used to understand what factors influenced students’ perceptions about their personal, everyday creativity.
Freshmen business students participated in the study. A concurrent mixed methods approach was used to gather data from the students. Quantitative data came from a post- and retrospective pre-intervention survey that assessed four constructs: creative identity, creative self-efficacy, growth mindset, and fixed mindset. The data also came from the quantitative section of a post-workshop feedback survey asking to rate the effectiveness of each workshop. Qualitative data were gathered in several ways. Student interviews focused on asking how they defined creativity, shared reasons that motivated or inhibited them to practice creativity, and explained to what extent the workshops influenced them. Additional qualitative data came from student reflection essays and the qualitative section of a post-workshop feedback survey.
Research results suggested students gained an increased understanding in the importance of adopting a growth mindset, designating ‘creative’ as a critical identity and building confidence in their creative endeavors. The students’ interview and reflection essay data were consistent with the survey data. Finally, research results from the study highlighted the benefit of creativity training as a crucial, complementary, and iterative form of study in an academic setting allowing students to know themselves better and to prioritize their creative performances as part of their program learning outcomes.