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Can Software Influence Creativity?

Joyce J. Elam and Melissa Mead
Information Systems Research
Vol. 1, No. 1 (MARCH 1990), pp. 1-22
Published by: INFORMS
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23010961
Page Count: 22
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Can Software Influence Creativity?
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Abstract

The concept of decision support systems that emerged in the seventies offered the promise of computer-based tools that would enable decision makers to develop better and more creative solutions to the problems they face. The realization of this promise depends on the validity of two assumptions: (1) individuals can be helped to be more creative and (2) software, appropriately designed, can provide this help. Evidence from creativity research supports the first assumption. This paper explores the second assumption. A set of guidelines for designing DSS is developed from the creativity literature and two hypotheses involving the use of a DSS developed in accordance with these guidelines are proposed. To test these hypotheses, an experiment involving three groups of auditors from a 'big eight' accounting firm was conducted. Each group was asked to respond to two different decision situations. Two groups were given separate versions of a DSS specifically selected because it contained features that were thought to enhance creativity. Another group was given no software. The results of the experiment indicate significant differences in the creativity of the responses generated by the three groups. Possible explanations for these differences are explored.

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