Bicultural individuals vary in the degree to which their two cultural identities are integrated. Among Asian-Americans, for instance, some experience their Asian and American sides as compatible whereas others experience them as conflicting. Past research on judgments finds this individual difference affects the way bicultural individuals respond to situations that cue their cultures. Asian-Americans with high bicultural identity integration (BII) assimilate to norms of the cued culture (e.g., they exhibit typically American judgments when in situations that cue American culture), whereas Asian-Americans with low BII do the opposite, contrasting against the cue (e.g., they exhibit typically Asian judgments when in American situations). We investigated whether this dynamic similarly affects creative performance, which differs cross-culturally in that novelty is encouraged more by American than East Asian norms. In two experiments, we found that cues to American (vs. Asian) culture increase the novelty of solutions in divergent thinking tasks for Asian-Americans with high BII (assimilative response) yet decrease it for Asian-Americans with low BII (contrastive response). We discuss theoretical implications for culture and creativity research and practical implications for firms seeking to foster creativity.

Aurelia Mok and Michael Morris
Journal Article
Publication Date
Management and Organization Review

Full Citation

Mok, Aurelia and Michael Morris
. “Asian-Americans' creative styles in Asian and American situations: Assimilative and contrastive responses as a function of bicultural identity integration.”
Management and Organization Review
, (November 01, 2010):