Does performance evaluation kill creativity? A (re)interpretation of existing literature

Publikation: Wissenschaftliche FachzeitschriftOriginalbeitrag in FachzeitschriftBegutachtung


Enabling employee creativity and channeling the creativity of employees toward process and product innovations is a starting point of value creation processes and strategy maps. The dominant view in early creativity research seemed to be that creativity and control are inconsistent. More recently, a number of studies have come to acknowledge that performance evaluations (and rewards linked to such evaluations) may well have positive effects on creativity. This paper aims to review existing results on the effects of performance evaluations on creativity from the perspectives of different research streams.

This paper analyzes a stream of research in social psychology which has promoted the notion of an overall negative effect of performance evaluations on creativity. The (reinterpreted) results from this research stream are contrasted with findings from the behaviorist perspective and with research in management accounting.

The review of the different research traditions in the analysis of the effects of performance evaluations on creativity indicates that the seemingly contradictory empirical results can be explained by the different settings used and by the different ways how performance evaluations and linked rewards are conceptualized.

The paper clarifies that, in contrast to common beliefs, performance evaluations and linked incentives do not kill creativity in general. Performance evaluations and incentives can support creativity and innovation if they are transparent about what kind of creativity is desired and how such creativity is measured and rewarded. Moreover, incentives can effectively support behaviors that are known to be important within creativity and innovation processes.
FachzeitschriftPacific Accounting Review
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2021

Österreichische Systematik der Wissenschaftszweige (ÖFOS)

  • 502052 Betriebswirtschaftslehre
  • 502044 Unternehmensführung
  • 502006 Controlling