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Grow Your Business Your Team

Companies Avoid Promoting Creative People to Highest Jobs

Employees looking to reach the top rung of their companies may want to keep their bright ideas for change to themselves.

Work colleagues view creative people as risky and unpredictable, often preventing them from earning promotions and reaching CEO status , new research from Cornell University reveals.

“Creative people are getting filtered out on their way to the top,” said Jack Goncalo, assistant professor of organizational behavior at Cornell.

In a series of three studies, Goncalo and other researchers discovered a bias against selecting the most creative thinkers for the highest jobs.


Creative people and effective leaders usually clash. Employees expect leaders to reduce uncertainty and uphold norms of the company – not change the status quo.

“When people voice creative ideas, they are viewed by others as having less leadership potential,” Goncalo said.

The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology will publish the findings in 2011.

Reach BusinessNewsDaily staff writer Brian Anthony Hernandez at Bhernandez@TechMediaNetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter (@BAHjournalist) and become his friend on Facebook (BAH Journalist) to interact or stay updated on news about small businesses.