Is It New? Personal and Contextual Influences on Perceptions of Novelty and Creativity


Novelty recognition is the crucial starting point for extracting value from the ideas generated by others.
In this paper we develop an associative evaluation account for how personal and contextual factors
motivate individuals to perceive novelty and creativity. We report 4 studies that systematically tested
hypotheses developed from this perspective. Study 1 (a laboratory experiment) showed that perceivers’
regulatory focus, as an experimentally induced state, affected novelty perception. Study 2 (a field study)
found that perceivers’ promotion focus and prevention focus, measured as chronic traits, each interacted
with normative level of novelty and creativity: perceivers who scored higher on promotion focus
perceived more novelty (or creativity) in novel (or creative) targets than those who scored lower, whereas
perceivers who scored higher on prevention focus perceived less novelty (or creativity) in novel (or
creative) targets than those who scored lower. Study 3 (a field study) showed that organizational culture
affected the perception of novelty and creativity. Study 4 (a laboratory experiment) found perceiver-byidea-
by-context 3-way interaction effects: for perceivers with prevention focus, the positive relation
between normative level of novelty and novelty ratings was weakened in the loss-framing condition
versus the gain-framing condition. We discuss implications of the findings for future research and
management practice.

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