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The Struggle for Creativity: The Effect of Systems on Principal Creativity. A Systems Theory Perspective Open Access

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Abstract of DissertationThe Struggle for Creativity: The Effect of Systems on Principal CreativityA Systems Theory PerspectiveVivian Elaine GrieseCreativity is generating more interest as we move into the 21st century.Businesses are pressuring schools to graduate individuals who are critical thinkers andwho can become future innovators. Principal creativity as a component of school successis virtually ignored. Numerous creativity studies examine the traits of personality,intelligence, motivation, or environment as predictors of creative job performance. Lessattention is devoted to understanding the interactive role these components have on anindividual’s creativity. The research examining principal creativity is even morerestrictive in scope to nonexistent. Using Csikszentmihalyi’s (1996) three-prongedsystems theory of creativity, this basic interpretive qualitative study employs open-endedinterview questions and two Runco Creativity Assessment Battery (rCAB@, 2011)assessments to explore how principals perceive the influence of systems on their abilityto be creative. Framed within a constructionist viewpoint, narrative analysis investigatesthe gap that current literature has not addressed by attempting to answer the overarchingquestion: How does the principal perceive the impact of systems on his or her ability tobe creative?Through the data analysis several major themes emerged. As children, theprincipals were exposed to varied experiences and diverse ways of thinking. Engaging inactivities that encouraged curiosity and perseverance appears to have laid the foundation for alifestyle that continues into adulthood. As adults, they are able to identify and evaluate theworth of creative ideas. The principals not only excelled in their degreed fields of study, butalso showed interest in exploring diverse subjects. They are ambitious, confident, competent,and eager to develop their own potential and that of their followers. The principals believegood communication builds honest and collegial relationships. They show a sensitivity andobligation to create the supportive environment needed to make their schools centers ofcreative thought and action.The interactive nature of systems theory becomes clear after analyzing the data.Their individual traits impact the relationships they have with the field, which impacts thedomain of educational leadership. Using systems theory, this research adds to the literatureand our understanding of principal creativity.Keywords: creativity, educational leadership, principal creativity, systems theory

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