(Un)sustainable creativity? Different manager-employee perspectives in the finnish technology sector

Vlad Petre Glaveanu, Soila Lemmetty, Kaija Collin, Panu Forsman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


The importance of creativity for working life and in organizations has increased in recent years. At the same time, the theme of sustainability has been intensely debated in research, society, and organizations. Together, creativity and sustainability have sometimes been described as a contradictory phenomenon: they are described in ways that place them in opposition to each other. To better understand creativity and sustainability and their differences from the perspective of people in different positions, we take advantage of a sociocultural approach in which we do not focus only on creative individuals but also on the impact of creativity on both organizational stakeholders and society at large. We aim to explore manager and employee descriptions of creativity and its relationship with sustainability at work in the Finnish technology sector, with a particular focus on how they relate to the sustainability of the creative processes and to workplace activities more generally. Based on a thematic analysis of 56 interviews, we found that the managers and employees in Finnish technology organizations described creativity in different ways, looking at the phenomenon from the viewpoints of clients, businesses, society, or colleagues, and had different perspectives on what it means to create, with the former treating creativity as huge innovations and the latter as daily problem-solving. We also found that sustainability in relation to creativity appears either as applying old solutions and thus recycling previous ideas or outcomes or as destroying old products and replacing them with the new (creative destruction). We discuss these partly conflicting discourses at the end of the article and present suggestions for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Creativity
  • Finland
  • Qualitative analysis
  • Sustainability
  • Technology sector


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