Roy Chua: Culture and Creativity

Mike interviews Roy Chua about how cultural tightness and cultural distance affect creativity. In a study of hundreds of contests on an international crowdsourcing platform, Roy and his colleagues looked at who entered and won these creative contests. They found that people from tight cultures–cultures where norms are strong and people are punished for violating those norms–were less likely to enter and win foreign creative contests than people from loose cultures. This effect was even stronger when the culture of the country sponsoring the contest was very different (cultural distance) from the culture of the participants. Roy says companies need to target their creative efforts at different sources, depending on whether they come from tight or loose cultures.

Roy Chua

Roy Chua is an Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resources at the Singapore Management University (SMU) – Lee Kong Chian School of Business. In his primary stream of research, he studies how cultural diversity in a globalized workplace influences creativity and innovation. Professor Chua also has a keen interest in understanding organizational behavior and management processes in the Asian context. He is an award winning management scholar and has published in leading academic periodicals such as the Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Journal of International Business Studies, and MIT Sloan Management Review. –

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Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson is an Assistant Professor in Department of Management and Organization at the University of Washington. He can be reached via