Fostering creativity understanding: Case study of an exercise designed for a large undergraduate business cohort at EDHEC Business School

Veronique Boulocher-Passet, Peter Daly, Isabelle Sequeira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to encourage initiatives to train large cohorts of students for creativity understanding at undergraduate and cross-disciplinary level. We describe an example of a creativity exercise that accommodates a large cohort and discuss the results of empirical research on this teaching experience at a French business school, with the aim of reflecting on the transferability of this exercise by other educators to similar educational contexts. Design/methodology/approach – An Internet self-completed survey instrument was designed and used to collect students’ perceptions and motivation/satisfaction prior to and after the creativity exercise. 245 pairs of survey responses from first-year students, that provided free associations and Likert scale-type evaluations as well as open comments, were analysed using prototypical analysis, paired samples t-test and content analysis. Findings – The exercise proved an effective tool to train a large cohort of undergraduates to better apprehend that creativity is a managerial competence that can be trained. We particularly underline the need for fluidity in the organization of the exercise; use of a clear creativity process and methodology; the necessity to implicate an external creativity consultant; and the importance of the chosen topic being non art-related. Originality/value – This paper encourages initiatives and provides insights into the difficulties of training large cohorts of students for creativity at undergraduate and cross-disciplinary level, thus addressing the claim by some corporations that students employed in entry-level management positions lack critical thinking or creativity skills.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)574-591
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Management Development
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2016


  • Creativity Training
  • Business Education
  • Undergraduate Students


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