How Overlapping Connections Between Groups Interact with Value Differences in Explaining Creativity?

Antti Gronow, Anssi Smedlund, Aasa Karimo

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


We build on recent developments in network theory and the sociology of valuation, and we propose that the overlapping connections that groups have with each other (i.e., structural folds) and differences in within-group values are substitutes for explaining creativity (coming up with new ideas and practices). Thus, only groups that lack overlapping connections with other groups stand to benefit from within-group value differences. In order to test this proposition, we developed a scale to measure differences in values in organizational cliques. We constructed 280 cliques of 104 employees at a professional service firm on the basis of their advice relations and tested whether group overlaps and diverging values were positively associated with a group’s creativity and their joint effect. As expected, group overlaps only have a positive effect on creativity when values do not diverge. Furthermore, divergence of values contributes to creativity only when overlapping connections between groups are lacking. These findings are explained by presenting a compensatory theory of the function of overlapping group memberships and differences in values. The findings contribute both to the research on group processes and creativity in network theory as well as the effects of values in social sciences.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSociety as an Interaction Space : A Systemic Approach
EditorsHanna Lehtimäki, Petri Uusikylä, Anssi Smedlund
Number of pages25
Place of PublicationSingapore
Publication date2020
ISBN (Print)978-981-15-0068-8, 978-981-15-0071-8
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-15-0069-5
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

Publication series

NameTranslational Systems Sciences
ISSN (Print)2197-8832

Fields of Science

  • 5141 Sociology

Cite this