This research investigates the joint impact of social attitudes upon the definition and evaluation of creative performance at work. It is based on the premise that social norms are in constant tension, and this tension stimulates or restrains creativity. Base on my research, I argue that creativity is a context-specific, qualitative concept, and is, in practice, a social evaluation of production processes and outcomes. Consistent with the literature, leadership and organizational culture are examined in the research as agents of social influence.
I propose that there are two types of social influences, which represent two opposing social attitudes toward creativity. Two metaphors for these two social attitudes are a scientistic attitude and a religious attitude. The two attitudes are respectively rooted in the need for growth and the need for security. My hypothesis is that a dominantly scientistic attitude would facilitate creative performance and a dominantly religious attitude would not because it would create unfavorable social conditions.
Due to the qualitative nature of this study, I use ethnography for data collection and critical discourse analysis for data analysis. The research results indicate that social influence is exercised through communication of social actors' values. Direct supervisor's values influence employee's values of creativity more than indirect supervisors. Social actors' values are shaped by the scientistic and the religious attitudes, which motivate or restrain creative performance at work.