Article | Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology | April 2012

Beyond Individual Creativity: The Superadditive Benefits of Multicultural Experience for Collective Creativity in Culturally Diverse Teams

by Carmit Tadmor, Patricia Satterstrom, Sujin Jang and Jeffrey Polzer

Abstract

Although recent research has consistently demonstrated the benefits of multicultural experience for individual-level creativity, its potential advantages for collective creativity in culturally diverse teams have yet to be explored. We predicted that multicultural experience among members of a collective would enhance joint creativity in a superadditive fashion. Using a two-step methodology that included both individual and dyadic brainstorming sessions, we found that even after controlling for individual creativity, multicultural experience had a superadditive effect on dyadic creativity. Specifically, dyads performed best on a creative task in terms of fluency, flexibility, and novelty—three classic dimensions of creativity—when both dyad partners had high levels of multicultural experience. These results show that when it comes to multicultural experience, the creative whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Implications for diversity research are discussed.

Keywords: Creativity; Groups and Teams;

Citation:

Tadmor, Carmit, Patricia Satterstrom, Sujin Jang, and Jeffrey Polzer. "Beyond Individual Creativity: The Superadditive Benefits of Multicultural Experience for Collective Creativity in Culturally Diverse Teams." Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 43, no. 3 (April 2012): 384–392.