The componential model


Amabile tries to come up with a map for describing creativity in organizations. The scheme, however, looks more complicated that it is and the whole argument is rather simplistic. Nevertheless, its rationale is clearly based on a specific definition for creativity that goes as follows:

Creativity: the production of ideas or outcomes that are both novel and appropriate to some goal. The responses/products/solutions according to Amabile must be “novel and appropriate” and “new but not different”

The Four Components that are necessary to any creative responese and must be confluent:

  • domain relative skills: knowledge, expertise, technical skills, intelligence, talent
  • creativity relevant processes: independence, risk taking, taking new perspectives to problems, disciplined work style, generating ideas, ability to synthesize information
  • intrinsic task motivation: passion, interest, enjoyment, satisfaction, challenge
  • the social environment in which the individual is working: the extrinsic motivators, stimulants as well as obstacles

Naturally, the theory applies to almost every human activity but team collaboration is almost a prerequisite and that is not very easy to occur to non organizational operations.



Amabile, T., 2012, ‘Componential theory of Creativity’, in Encyclopedia of Management Theory (Eric H. Kessler, Ed.), Sage Publications, full article available here

Image Source: From T. M. Amabile, Creativity in Context (1996, p.113). Boulder, CO: Westview Press (1996).

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