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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Stan Gryskiewicz, November 5, 1998. Interview S-0016. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Creative leadership development

Gryskiewicz speaks more specifically about his own scholarly contributions to the Center for Creative Leadership. Focusing especially on his work immediately following his 1976 sabbatical to complete his Ph.D., Gryskiewicz describes his work in creative leadership development.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Stan Gryskiewicz, November 5, 1998. Interview S-0016. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JOSEPH MOSNIER:
I want to ask you more about that, too, a little bit more about the work you did in London and sort of what that meant to you in your career and so forth.
STAN GRYSKIEWICZ:
That really was the—remember, I had the MacKinnon. Irving Taylor left. I was introduced to creative problem solving, group process, which was a natural for me. I had studied encounter groups. Now I'm looking at group process for stimulating creativity. And Don's comment about effective people are creative people. And so I went off to London to do more dissertation on creativity in organizations. And my dissertation was looking at the impact of creative problem solving techniques and idea generation in product development groups. And so my research was done in the U.K., and I replicated it in companies in the U.S. And so I had this comparison of looking at—there was...
JOSEPH MOSNIER:
You got that done in one year or you had done some of it?
STAN GRYSKIEWICZ:
London required one year residency. And then once your proposal is accepted for your piece, you don't have to attend classes. So I used that first year to attend classes and write my proposal. And I was attending lectures by Marxists. I realized part of my take was boy are they naive. I mean great theory and I'm glad I could be exposed to it, but boy are they naive about organizations. Because these were academics teaching who have never worked in organizations, and I had that experience. And so Emery and Trist and coal face studies and they were studying coal miners three miles down underground trying to generalize theory about Marxist theory from that. And so I think about coal mining and dirty faces and I'm looking at creativity and problem solving groups for new product development. So I got tuned into, which helped the Center long-term, with Unilever research which led to us hiring a couple staff from Unilever, which now Unilever is a corporate sponsor. Unilever helped sponsor my research. So all that really got the Center—David, when I came back from the dissertation, finishing it all up, David said, "Okay, now it's over. I want you to start again a creativity Center at CCL. What do you want to call it?" So we had leadership development, so I now decided to call is creativity develop. So that was the very first ten years from the time I started. So it was now 1980. Irving had left in '72, '73. And the only thing we were doing in-between was to have a module in the leadership course then on creative thinking. Now I started moving it from just group process creativity but looking at individual creativity, effective creativity, and that was looking at styles of creativity. Assuming everyone's creative but what's their personal style of creativity, group stuff. And then in the 80's from that, we started developing you have creative people and you have creative teams, but you don't have a climate that supports it. So we started looking at organizational creativity, and that's where I did the work with Teresa Amabile on Keys. And Teresa—I found Teresa was here's how your network works, Joe, and you don't know it until it happens. I had a guy I had met at one of Campbell's cocktail parties, Bob Hogan.
JOSEPH MOSNIER:
At APA?
STAN GRYSKIEWICZ:
At APA, was a reviewer for "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology." And he applied for a job here at one time and didn't get it. Anyway, he said, "Stan, you don't know who this person is yet, but I'm pre-reading her research. You need to know about it. And her name is Teresa Amabile and she's at Brandeis." And he said, "I'm going to send you a preprint about what we are going to publish about her study." And he knew what I was dabbling in, and she was doing research on climates for creativity of young children. And I called her and said, "Teresa, you don't know me. I've read your work, and I want you to know that what you're doing is what we're trying to do in organizations. Are you interested to play with us?" That was my phrase. And she said yeah. So while she was at Brandeis, we brought her down her for several months. We continued our work. We developed the instruments called KEYS. She then went onto Harvard. She's in the business school there. So that was our—if you look at what we did with creativity in that creativity development unit, we had the individuals and we had the teams and Teresa would look at organizational stuff. And my latest stuff, what I'm writing about now is the periphery, the organization.
JOSEPH MOSNIER:
Just for the tape, Stan is sketching to kind of illustrate.
STAN GRYSKIEWICZ:
And so what we did was we had to look at a slice. We had to look at people working at teams, working in the organization and the sense of organization renewal. So that's what we worked in. So it was called the Creativity Development Group. And then we changed the name as we grew to ICAR, and you hear it. Remember IPAR? Really my father Don MacKinnon. So it was Innovation and Creativity Applications and Research Group. We hired in Luke Novelli and Luke was my counterpart who ran all the research for us, and I ran the application side of it.
JOSEPH MOSNIER:
I'm sorry, say that again. Luke ran the?
STAN GRYSKIEWICZ:
Research. He was brought in to be the research part of this creativity group. And we hired people. We had about 12 people at one time. And so anyway, we had this package. So Campbell essentially started this let's return to creativity again. We are the Center For Creative Leadership. Stan's got a more academic approach to it based on his research and application stuff. So baby out with the bath water issue. And so 1980 is when we started the creativity group. That spun out of my Ph.D.