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Category Archives: Business, Economics and Law

In fear of your boss? New UNSW research shows you’ll be far less creative

In fear of your boss? New UNSW research shows you’ll be far less creative

New research from the Australian School of Business at UNSW Australia indicates workers who fear their boss are likely to be less creative. By contrast, a person who is given rewards and new experiences will be much more creative in the workplace.

Lead author of the research PhD student Benjamin Walker said “this research could have major implications for Australian companies. Office managers could certainly harness the creativity of people who are inclined toward creativity by working with them to set goals which have achievable rewards, and offer them new experiences.”

The other important finding is that fear decreases creativity. He said “many organisations put pressure on their employees with fear of negative consequences such as reprimands or losing their job. While these fear tactics may get employees to work harder, in situations of fear the employees may be less able to generate higher quality work that involves creativity. To facilitate creativity, organisations need to help employees be relaxed and stay in a positive mood rather than working under conditions of fear.”

The central part of the research is that what is called an ‘approach orientation personality’ increases creativity. An approach orientation personality is when a person is sensitive to rewards, has an exploratory nature, and is driven toward new experiences.

Mr Walker says that “this research has important implications for the workplace. It is not just that an approach orientation personality increases creativity, but that having goals increases creativity. In other words creativity is an interplay between biological factors and cognitive factors. Workplaces can harness the creativity of people who are biologically inclined toward creativity with assistance in goal setting.”

“For example, imagine an office slave who is stuck at their desk every day, in fear that their boss will explode with rage if they get anything wrong: they will just do what they have to do and make sure it is done correctly. By contrast a creative worker who gets on well with their boss will suggest innovative new ways of working, because they avoid the ‘fear of failure’; they know that by being creative they will be rewarded, and have the chance to try something new,” he said.

Professor of Business Psychology Chris Jackson worked on the research with Benjamin Walker. He said “overall, we think openness to experience and fear both play a role in divergent thinking.”

The paper ‘How the Five Factor Model and revised Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory predict divergent thinking’, by Benjamin Walker and Professor Chris Jackson has just been published in the journal

Click here to view Personality and Individual Differences.

For further comment call:

Benjamin Walker on 0405 679 100, or email b.walker@unsw.edu.au

Media contact:

Julian Lorkin: 02 9385 9887

Productivity = increased profits, does not add up

Australia needs to focus on profitability rather than productivity if it is to pull its agricultural sector out of its current downward spiral, a QUT economist has said. Dr Mark McGovern of QUT’s Business School said Australia’s agricultural industry wasn’t alone in assuming that increased production and productivity would automatically lead to increased profits butContinue Reading

Aussie retailers should fight harder to win online dominance

Australian retailers need to pick up their game if they want to dominate the online sales market, a QUT academic says. Adjunct Associate Professor Joanne Jacobs, from the Creative Industries Faculty, writes in academic opinion website The Conversation that overseas online sites are using social media and customer incentive schemes better than the current AustralianContinue Reading

Graduates find mixed results in labour market

New research on the absorption of recent graduates into the labour market has revealed wide differences in how readily graduates from various fields of study and university groups find jobs to match their level of education. A research paper jointly written by The University of Western Australia’s Ian Li and Curtin University’s Paul Miller and published inContinue Reading

Queensland fraud is a billion dollar business

Queensland fraud is a billion dollar business

Queensland businesses could be losing over $12 billion per annum as a result of company fraud according to a recent study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) – and small businesses are most at risk. ”Fraud is not just a problem for big business,” said Professor Keitha Dunstan who heads the School ofContinue Reading

Inside the mind of a burglar

Inside the mind of a burglar

Burglars are opportunistic, generally choose their targets at random and know all the tricks householders try to use as deterrents, according to a new study from ECU. In conjunction with the Australian Institute of Criminology, researchers from ECU’s School of Law and Justice conducted the study with 69 participants who admitted to having committed aContinue Reading

Valuable research gathered by Notre Dame PhD graduate on delivering exercise incentives to employees

Valuable research gathered by Notre Dame PhD graduate on delivering exercise incentives to employees

Only half of the workers in a recent survey are meeting current Australian standards for daily physical activity according to research by PhD graduate, Dr Troy Fuller, from The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Fremantle Campus. With many people working longer hours, both in the office and at home, Dr Fuller’s research highlighted that employeeContinue Reading

Australia’s long campaign to secure voters from regional ‘threats’

Australia’s long campaign to secure voters from regional ‘threats’

Australian political leaders keep finding new and innovative ways to position themselves as ‘national defenders’ in the face of regional challenges and threats, according to new research by the University of Melbourne. Political communication analyst Dr Stephanie Brookes has reviewed nearly a thousand political speeches, interviews, debates and press conferences from election campaigns dating backContinue Reading

Beware Christmas shoppers, online first impressions can fool you

Beware Christmas shoppers, online first impressions can fool you

Internet shoppers are more likely to buy if the first product review they encounter is a positive one even if subsequent reviews aren’t as flattering, new University of Melbourne research has found. Consumer psychologist Dr Brent Coker from the University’s Faculty of Business and Economics conducted the study, which has been published in the currentContinue Reading

US mass shootings – change unlikely

US mass shootings – change unlikely

The tragic mass shooting of small children and teachers at an elementary school in the US state of Connecticut last Friday is unlikely to result in any significant change to gun laws or gun culture in the US, according to a Charles Sturt University (CSU) law enforcement academic. Dr Hugh McDermott, a senior lecturer inContinue Reading

Christmas shoppers urged to boycott corporate tax dodgers

Christmas shoppers urged to boycott corporate tax dodgers

Christmas shoppers should follow the lead of consumers in the UK by taking a stand and boycotting companies that don’t pay their fair share of tax, according to a tax expert at the University of Western Sydney. Dr Elfriede Sangkuhl, from the UWS School of Law, worked at Ernst and Young before completing her PhDContinue Reading

reach + significance = impact

reach + significance = impact

Eighty-seven per cent of Australian research has been ranked as having considerable, very considerable or outstanding impact, according to the results of the first ever Excellence in Innovation (EIA) for Australia initiative, released last week. The EIA initiative is a national benchmarking study developed to measure the impact of Australian research against international standards. SixteenContinue Reading

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