This article is divided into sections designed to introduce the theory to the readers. In the Background section, previous theory is summarized and the need for a new model and theory addressed. The model and theory are presented in four sections: a general model and theory overview and then one section on each set of influences on creativity—cognitive, social, and media influences. Those three sections contain the propositions of the theory. In the last section, Conclusion, consistent with the central mission of a good theory (Van de Ven, 1989), ACT contributes to knowledge on creativity of teams which use asynchronous e-collaboration and applies the knowledge to developing and managing teams for organizational innovation.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Accountability: A team member is responsible for the quality of his/her input.
Asynchronous Creativity Theory (ACT): Theory that considers the effects of communication media capabilities on the traditional social and cognitive factors affecting creativity, the net effect of which is that teams using asynchronous e-collaboration may have greater potential for creativity than do synchronous face-to-face teams.
Incubation: Rest or period without conscious attention to the problem or doing other activities.
Diversity: Variety of frameworks/ideas.
Cues: Format by which information is conveyed, verbal and nonverbal language (e.g., tone, eye contact) as well as social cues (e.g., status, intimidation).
Immediacy: Rapid transmission and rapid feedback from their communications.
Rehearsability: Fine tuning a message before sending.
Anxiety: A sense of unease.
Attention: Amount of focus on the task at hand.
Reprocessability: Readdressing a message within the context of the communication event (e.g., rereading, printing).
Creativity: The development of novel ideas which are useful.
Affiliation: The level of relational development of the team.
Asynchronous E-Collaboration: Collaboration among individuals engaged in a common task using electronic technologies that allow input at different times.
Media-Cognitive-Social (MCS) Model of Creativity: The model of media, cognitive, and social factors affecting creativity on which asynchronous creativity theory is based.
Parallelism: Effectively working in parallel (simultaneous conversations in process). Channel capacity so that multiple people can work all at once.