Novelty and Usefulness Trade-Off: Cultural Cognitive Differences and Creative Idea Evaluation

Marina McCarthy, Chao C. Chen, Robert C. McNamee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Creativity and innovation have become critical organizational capabilities in today’s global environment, and leveraging creative potential of employees across various cultural contexts has become increasingly important. Although recognized among researchers, cross-cultural differences in creativity are not yet well understood. We contribute to this line of research by constructing a theoretical model that focuses on cultural differences in cognition (i.e., holistic vs. analytic thinking) that affect the evaluation of creative ideas. The cultural cognition perspective allows us to theorize about the interrelationship between an idea’s novelty and its usefulness. We propose that to the extent there is a trade-off between an idea’s novelty and usefulness, cultural differences in cognition will systematically influence the trade-off relationship such that Easterners will perceive a stronger trade-off between novelty and usefulness as compared with their Western counterparts. Such effects of cultural cognition, however, can be reduced by contextual factors of multicultural exposure, cognitive team diversity, and organizational climate for innovation. Our cultural cognition perspective complements the extant cultural value and social norms perspectives on cross-cultural differences in creativity and innovation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-198
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology


  • cognition
  • creativity
  • culture
  • innovation
  • novelty and usefulness

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Novelty and Usefulness Trade-Off: Cultural Cognitive Differences and Creative Idea Evaluation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this