A1 Journal article (refereed)
(Un)Sustainable Creativity? : Different Manager-Employee Perspectives in the Finnish Technology Sector (2020)

Lemmetty, S., Glăveanu, V. P., Collin, K., & Forsman, P. (2020). (Un)Sustainable Creativity? : Different Manager-Employee Perspectives in the Finnish Technology Sector. Sustainability, 12(9), Article 3605. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093605

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Lemmetty, Soila; Glăveanu, Vlad Petre; Collin, Kaija; Forsman, Panu

Journal or series: Sustainability

eISSN: 2071-1050

Publication year: 2020

Volume: 12

Issue number: 9

Article number: 3605

Publisher: MDPI

Publication country: Switzerland

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093605

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/68807


The importance of creativity for working life and in organizations has increased in recent years. At the same time, the theme of sustainability has been intensely debated in research, society, and organizations. Together, creativity and sustainability have sometimes been described as a contradictory phenomenon: they are described in ways that place them in opposition to each other. To better understand creativity and sustainability and their differences from the perspective of people in different positions, we take advantage of a sociocultural approach in which we do not focus only on creative individuals but also on the impact of creativity on both organizational stakeholders and society at large. We aim to explore manager and employee descriptions of creativity and its relationship with sustainability at work in the Finnish technology sector, with a particular focus on how they relate to the sustainability of the creative processes and to workplace activities more generally. Based on a thematic analysis of 56 interviews, we found that the managers and employees in Finnish technology organizations described creativity in different ways, looking at the phenomenon from the viewpoints of clients, businesses, society, or colleagues, and had different perspectives on what it means to create, with the former treating creativity as huge innovations and the latter as daily problem-solving. We also found that sustainability in relation to creativity appears either as applying old solutions and thus recycling previous ideas or outcomes or as destroying old products and replacing them with the new (creative destruction). We discuss these partly conflicting discourses at the end of the article and present suggestions for future research.

Keywords: creativity; innovations; sustainable development; conceptions; managers and executives; employees; technology industry; organisational research; qualitative analysis (chemical analysis)

Free keywords: creativity; sustainability; Finland; technology sector; qualitative analysis

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Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 13:57