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Philosophy of Management

Volume 1, Issue 2, 2001

Making Sense

Frits Schipper
Pages 3-15

Creativity and Rationality
A Philosophical Contribution

Nowadays creativity is fashionable. Writers on management and organisation for example, mention creativity as vital to entrepreneurship. They consider it to he as important as land, labour and capital which form the traditional factors of production And related terms such as 'genius' are in use again. An example of this is the widely read book Built to Last. Moreover, creativity and rationality are presented as alternatives. To be creative, managers are urged to put rationality aside: 'being reasonable does not win the day they are assured and 'all-progress depends on the unreasonable man. This view that rationality and creativity oppose each other is, however, unsatisfactory involving, as it does, a form of epistemological schizophrenia. One excludes the other only if we adopt a simplistic concept of rationality and an esoteric view of creativity. This article, therefore, sets out to clarify the relationship between the concepts of creativity and rationality. Three ideal-type concepts of rationality will be introduced (algorithmic, judgemental, reflective) and their tolerance of novelty discussed. Then two modes of creativity (explorative and transcendentive) are distinguished, followed by a discussion of whether rationality can enhance creativity. I conclude by reviewing some factors involved in creativity, such as tolerance for ambiguity, playfulness and attentiveness, and with a short discussion of the relationship of creativity to power.

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