Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Organizational culture in knowledge creation, creativity and innovation: Towards the Freiraum model

Auernhammer, Jan M; Hall, Hazel


Jan M Auernhammer

Hazel Hall


This paper draws on findings from an in-depth case study of practices related to the meeting of organisational goals pertinent to knowledge creation, creativity and innovation performance. Overall a mixed methods approach that used both quantitative and qualitative data was adopted in empirical research conducted within a large German manufacturing firm. A quantitative analysis of survey data highlighted factors necessary to nurture an environment conducive to knowledge creation, creativity and innovation: the organisation should be open to change; encourage and value free communication and new and/or unusual ideas; tolerate mistakes; and nurture intrinsically motivated staff. It should be supported by leaders who promote these characteristics as shared values, while challenging and empowering their staff to generate new ideas in a drive to further innovation. Further analysis of focus group and interview data in the same case study identified three main determinants that underpin knowledge creation and creativity: (1) structured “space” that creates expertise and experience of individuals while working in routine; (2) willingness to innovate: individuals’ propensity to experiment with ideas, even at risk of failure; and (3) authorised and dedicated “space” designated specifically for individuals to explore of new ideas (“Freiraum”). These findings have contributed to the development of a new articulation of the organisation of creativity and innovation. It draws on established concepts from the domain of knowledge and creativity management, and extends these to deepen our understanding of how aspects of organisational culture, including leadership and social conditions, influence organisational performance in terms of (a) improving knowledge creation processes related to creativity, and (b) fostering innovation.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Nov 22, 2013
Publication Date 2014-04
Deposit Date Sep 17, 2013
Publicly Available Date Nov 22, 2013
Journal Journal of Information Science
Print ISSN 0165-5515
Electronic ISSN 1741-6485
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 40
Issue 2
Pages 154-166
Keywords creativity; Freiraum; innovation; knowledge creation; knowledge management; learning; organisational culture; organisational learning;
Public URL
Publisher URL
Contract Date Sep 17, 2013


You might also like

Downloadable Citations