Diversity in social networks is often linked to enhanced creativity. Emerging research on exposure to diverse informational resources (e.g., ideas and knowledge) however has painted a more complex picture regarding its effect on individuals’ creative performance. This research examines the effects of culturally diverse networks on the flow of ideas and individuals’ creativity. Combining social network analysis with experimental methods, two studies using different samples found that a culturally diverse network increases the likelihood of receiving culture-related novel ideas (but not other types of novel ideas) from network contacts, whether or not these contacts share one’s own culture of origin. Additionally, the creativity effect of network diversity depends on the type of tasks. Networks’ degree of cultural diversity increases creativity on tasks that draw on varied cultural-knowledge resources but not on other types of tasks. These findings highlight that network diversity provides access to specific forms of knowledge and has a domain-specific effect on creativity. Theoretical and practical implications for creativity and social network research are discussed.
- social network,
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/roy_chua/23/