Shifting focus: The influence of affective diversity on team creativity

Kyle J. Emich, Lynne C. Vincent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


We propose and test a theory of how diversity in a team's initial affective composition impacts its creativity by examining how team members’ qualitatively different affective states converge to influence their team's creative process and outcomes. Three studies involving 1625 participants on 427 teams support an activation-regulatory focus explanation. Team members experiencing activated promotion-focused affect – whether positive (e.g. happiness) or negative (e.g. anger) – tend to focus their teams on idea generation, resulting in the selection of more novel ideas. Alternatively, team members experiencing activated prevention-focused affect (e.g. tension, fear) shift their teams toward idea selection, resulting in reduced idea novelty. When multiple affective states exist within the same team, more activated states dominate the creative process. Prevention-focused states also tend to dominate promotion-focused states with a few exceptions. We discuss our findings in terms of their implications for the study of team creativity and affective convergence and divergence in teams.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-37
Number of pages14
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • Affective diversity
  • Idea generation and selection
  • Regulatory focus
  • Team creativity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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