Creatives (oh, What a Nice Bunch...)

One of the pearls I've found while doing the literature review for my dissertation. Researchers KD Elsbach and FJ Flynn (from UC Davis and Standford) studied a group of creatives, and this is one of the lovely paragraphs while reviewing previous literature:

Creative workers often are described as having challenging personalities – socially dysfunctional, unflinchingly stubborn, and hopelessly prideful (Fletcher, 1999). According to some scholars, these ‘creative curmudgeons’ demonstrate clinically diagnosable sociopathic tendencies (e.g. Rothenberg, 1990) and, in interpersonal relationships, may be prone to stress and depression (a phenomenon labelled the ‘Sylvia Plath effect’ by Kaufman and Baer, 2002). Such an unflattering view of creative workers’ sociability may not be surprising given that many archetypal creative icons are notoriously introverted and staunchly independent (e.g. Virginia Woolf, Vincent Van Gogh, Oliver Stone). In the context of organizations, these stereotypes imply that creative workers can be resistant to collaborating with others and may struggle in interdependent task environments (Elsbach and Kramer, 2003).

From Creative Collaboration and the Self-Concept: A Study of Toy Designers, available (for a fee, sorry) at Willey Online Library.

The paper itself is quite interesting, and their opinion of creatives is not particularly negative either.