Szymanska/Gilmore/Gentry: DOI 10.18536/bcce.2016.

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The Relationship Between Innovative Cognitive Style and Job Performance in For-Profit and Public Organizations

Izabela Szymanska
Saginaw Valley State University

David C. Gilmore
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Bill Gentry
Center for Creative Leadership

Szymanska, I., Gilmore, D. C., & Gentry, B. (2016). The relationship between innovative cognitive style and job performance in for-profit and public organizations. Business Creativity and the Creative Economy, 2(1), 27-38. https://doi.org/10.18536/bcce.2016.


This study investigates two research questions. The first is focused on the comparison between the climates for creativity in the public and the for-profit sector. The second research question examines the moderating effect of organizational type (categorized as public and for-profit organizations) on the relationship between managers’ innovative cognitive style and their global job performance evaluations. The nature of the moderating effect is explained using Mischel’s (1968) situationist perspective according to which public organizations can be considered “strong situations,” while for-profit organizations can be construed as “weak situations.” A difference was found in both the climates for creativity, as well as in the approach to creatively-thinking managers in public and for-profit contexts. The results relating to the first research question revealed that the climate for creativity was significantly less favorable in the public organizations than in the for-profits. With regard to the second research question, whereas the creatively-thinking managers distinguished by innovative cognitive style were regarded as better performers in for-profit organizations, the opposite was true for the public sector managers. Potential explanations of these findings, as well as implications for the public sector management, are discussed.