A Meta-Analysis of Network Positions and Creative Performance: Differentiating Creativity Conceptualizations and Measurement Approaches


Two seemingly contradictory perspectives exist regarding what types of networks- open versus closed-are more advantageous for creative performance. We propose that the various ways that creative performance has been conceptualized and measured have contributed to this controversy. Using a random-effects meta-analysis of 62 independent samples, we examined whether the associations between network positions and creative performance vary depending on creative performance conceptualization (i.e., creative process behaviors vs. creative outcome effectiveness) and measurement approach (i.e., objective vs. subjective). Generally, findings offered more support for the open network perspective, regardless of creative performance conceptualization or measurement approach. However, we also found that, when examining the nuanced differences between network positions, creative performance conceptualization influenced how network positions were associated with creative performance: Network positions that accounted primarily for direct ties (e.g., structural holes) were more influential in promoting creative process behaviors, whereas network positions that accounted for the entire network (e.g., betweenness centrality) were more predictive of creative outcome effectiveness. These findings suggest that network positions that are typically associated with a single network perspective (e.g., structural holes and betweenness centrality) may not be interchangeable, and that researchers should more carefully consider the network position under investigation when evaluating open versus closed network perspectives on creative performance.

Publication Title

Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts