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No pressure, no result

Far from muddling one’s thinking, being under pressure helps workers come up with creative solutions to difficult problems. So says the University of Exeter’s Business School.

Its analysis of problem-solving in the subsidiaries or regional offices of 27 large multinational companies (MNCs) found a direct link between the pressure staff are under to solve a problem and the creativity of their solution.

Researchers point out that small teams are more effective than large ones in problem-solving, finding that the greater the number of staff involved in coming up with a solution, the less creative it is likely to be. Nor does seeking information from outside one’s own unit produce a more creative solution.

Boundary Capabilities in MNCs: Knowledge Transformation for Creative Solution Development was written in collaboration with University College Dublin and the National University of Ireland and published in the Journal of Management Studies.