Creativity in Managers - resume

Creativity is a miracle of combining childlike, unlimited energy with its opposite – the sense of order, following from the discipline of an adult’s intelligence. Norman Podhoretz Imitating fills me with dread… Siergiej Prokofiew

This book is the result of two parallel streams of author’s work: psychotherapy and teaching adults. It seemed at the beginning that these areas were completely unconnected. Gradually yet, many common grounds have been discovered, including occasional overlapping of the two streams. The effect of many years of working as a psychotherapist is the observation that people follow the patterns of behavior they acquired in their family homes. These patterns were once useful and effective, yet now, with time they are not appropriate. Similarly, during psychological workshops run for people of various professions (such as office clerks, sellers, executives, politicians, church ministers, or unemployed) after creating a secure atmosphere for the training, the trainees would often demonstrated messages which stemmed from the home-acquired behavior in a difficult situation rather than that connected with their profession. This could be observed in their body language while presenting specific problems and difficulties at their work. The research problem arose naturally then: to what extent family characteristics together with personal and professional characteristics condition creative behavior of managers? A further incentive for joining these two areas is a common tendency among researchers to dichotomize the two most important aspects of human activity: work and family life, which tend to be perceived as two unconnected areas of life. Journalists take a step further and claim that the family and career cannot be reconciled (Podgórska 2006, s.4-6). This book demonstrates in an empirical way that it is very difficult to develop personal characteristics essential for creative behavior without having good family relationships.

This book consists of two parts: the theoretical one and the empirical one. The theoretical part comprises three chapters, which although concentrate on different areas, are connected by a systematic view. In the first chapter, the outline of creative behavior was drawn and the concept of inventiveness was defined together with its limitations. In science and art researchers use the term ‘inventiveness’, in business usually they talk about ‘creativity’ instead. In this book, the two terms will be used alternatively. In chapter two, the family was described as a system which greatly affects the types of behavior in adult life and determines potential for development in life. The quality of spousal relations, manifested in the partners’ ability to find common grounds in the area of interpersonal differences and stating clear boundaries between the spouses’ and children’s subsystems, enables the children to achieve autonomy combined with intimacy. These characteristics in turn, largely determine creativity.

Chapter 3 deals with external and internal conditions a manager needs to face in the period of dynamic socio-economic changes. Theme-centered Interaction is a useful concept of running groups based on the idea of learning as an active, creative and discovering activity- “Living Learning" - and working. TCI creates structures in the group process to achieve a dynamic balance between the varying needs of the individual. The interaction of the group and the tasks (I-We-It-balance) and the given surroundings (the globe) in both the narrowest and broadest sense.

The empirical part consists of four chapters. In chapter 4, the program of research of the conditions for creativity was outlined. The research tools were described and the examined managers were characterized in the socio-demographical aspect.

Chapter 5 deals with the dependencies that were detected between the creativity of the subjects and their family situation and the way of functioning in work. Chapter 6 is devoted to identifying the characteristics of creative and non-creative managers, as well as the differences in the way they communicate. In chapter 7 the proposed model of creativity was described together with pointing at the possibility of predicting the degree of creativity on the basis of the characteristics connected with family, personality and work. The implications of the empirical model are practical postulates of socio-political, pedagogical and organizational kind.

The ending signals the areas for pursuing the model: higher education, workshops for managers and individual counselling service.

Undoubtedly, the work helped the author to integrate the areas which are usually analyzed separately. It helps to describe creativity not only in terms of postulates and wishes, but first and foremost on empirical grounds. It ascertains strict connection between the quality of family system and the degree of creativity on the example of the subjects. It localizes the source of inventive behavior.

Overcoming the barriers at different levels of writing this book was an interesting experience, which allowed the author to combine the scientific exploration of the problem with everyday life.

This book was written thanks to uncompelled cooperation from over 300 managers from different branches of economy, who agreed to take part in the research, devoting their time to answer numerous questions. From among this anonymous group, I would give special thanks to Professor Dobros³aw Bagiñski, who agreed to give an authorized interview for spotting and illustrating the characteristics of a creative manager. At the level of empirical research, I found the open and full of genuine involvement attitude of certain managers especially helpful. They showed interest and enthusiasm for the research, helping to organize it. In this place, I would like to thank especially the director of MPWiK in Lublin, in¿. Tadeusz Fija³ka, mgr Liliana Bojarska from Galabud, Halina Skrzypczak from Maxtel in Kielce, and my brother Stanis³aw Szopiñski from Alima & Gerber in Rzeszów.

Over these years of interesting work I had the fortune to experience kind support from many people. I would like to give many thanks here to dr Franciszek Bujak from the Institute of the Countryside Medicine for the possibility of many friendly conversations, especially the difficult ones at the first stage of ‘darkness’. I also find it extremely fortunate that I was in a position to use the experience of numerous academics from KUL.

I will be grateful for any critical comments to be sent to jszopinski@poczta.onet.pl