Intrinsic motivation and creativity: Opening up a black box

Logan M. Steele, Tristan McIntosh, Cory Higgs

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Historically, the link between motivation and creative performance has focused heavily on intrinsic motivation. However, after nearly 30 years of research, the underlying mechanisms of this relationship remain largely a mystery. In this chapter, the authors draw on goal orientation and self-regulation theories of motivation to propose specific paths through which intrinsic motivation may have a positive or negative impact on creative performance, depending on the type of outcome of interest (e.g., radical vs incremental creativity, expected vs proactive creativity). In addition, despite the long-standing belief that extrinsic motivation is bad for creativity, they also propose ways in which extrinsic motivation may in fact prove beneficial. Exploratory and exploitative cognitive processes (e.g., deep learning, self-efficacy) are examined as key mediating mechanisms. They highlight the need for leaders to understand their context and objectives in order to effectively facilitate creative performance.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Research on Leadership and Creativity
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9781784715465
ISBN (Print)9781784715458
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'Intrinsic motivation and creativity: Opening up a black box'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this