Asians Are Less Creative Than Westerners

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Creativity can be explained by the 4 Ps model by Rhodes (as cited in Ng, 2009). It is the creative person engaging in creative process to conceive the creative product. All that, are facilitated in a creative press or environment (Ng, 2007). Therefore, creativity transcend further than having a novel idea. It has to be manifested in the real world as a tangible creative product.

The concept of creativity differs between the Western and the Asian societies. Study by Niu and Sternberg (2006) compares the development of conceptions of creativity between the East and West. Both ancient Westerners and Chinese conceptualised creativity having the feature of goodness, including moral goodness. However, the Chinese further extend such goodness to the contribution to the whole society. Such extension is largely influenced by Confucianism, whereby filial piety and family is the fundamental building block of a society. In Western society, it is loosely-organised and the focus is on the development of personal self where the emphasis is on democratic and open exchange of ideas. In Asian society, it is tightly organised and the focus is on social face where the emphasis is on social order and harmony. Therefore, Western society tends to be individualistic and Asian society tends to be collectivistic.

In an individualistic society, the cultural emphasis is on individual fulfilment and to be independent of social group. It is an essential trait in creativity as it promotes doing things differently from others and encourages novelty. In contrast, a collectivistic society emphasise on doing what is right and proper within the social context, and to be interdependent within social group (Ng, 2009).

One of the 4 Ps of creativity is the creative press. That refers to the social environment that promotes or hampers the creator’s work. Therefore, in individualistic society where conflict is view positively, it promotes creativity that defies the social norms as...
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