ResearchEnglishCreative Innovation

The Motivation for Creativity in Organizations

Author: Teresa M. Amabile


People will be most creative when they feel motivated primarily by the interest, enjoyment, satisfaction, and challenge of the work itself – when they are driven by a deep involvement in their work and a passion for it.

This note describes the ways in which creativity can be stimulated by this intrinsic motivation, and by certain forms of extrinsic motivation, such as rewards that signal competence or support future achievement. Managerial implications are discussed.


Maintaining your own creativity in your work depends on maintaining your intrinsic motivation. This means two things. You should do what you love, and you should love what you do. The first is a matter of finding work that matches well with your expertise, your creative thinking skills, and your strongest intrinsic motivations. The second is a matter of finding a work environment that will allow you to retain that intrinsic motivational focus, while supporting your exploration of new ideas.Managers who learn these lessons will recruit for people who already have that spark of passion for their work (as well as the requisite skills and experience), but they will also nurture that spark by creating a work environment.


Teresa M. Amabile, Harvard Business School, Google Schoolar