Creative Product on the Level of Cultures and Civilizations



ethodologically, the first and most important task is to define the notion of creative product, because only on the basis of this definition can we make a distinction between the creative and noncreative process and as well as ability. However it is possible to improve this methodological consideration and speak – following Morris Stein’s example – of the big and small creativity (Stein, 1990). The reason of acceptance of Stein’s approach is the widely accepted anthropological fact, according to which people are all creative (Magyari Beck, 2000), however, on different levels. Some of us have big creativity, some – the instances of small creativity. In Creatology, the creative product on the level of cultures/civilizations is the novelty, which raises and/or solves the basic existential problems of culture according to the main moral standards of the same culture (Magyari Beck, 1976). What follows from this definition is the relativist nature of creative product. As the world is a multicultural entity, creative products as a rule are constructive for certain culture and destructive for another, or meet the moral standards of certain cultures and do not meet the moral standards of other cultures. This fact contributes to disturbances well-known in the domain in question. E.g., the debate between the Darwinism and Creationism (McGirr, 2000). People with small creativity can develop within themselves a kind of hostility towards the alternative for them cultures, founded on the differences in morality, existential problems and so on.


 Organizational Innovation



he products of organizational creativity have been called innovations, following the economic tradition laid by Joseph Schumpeter (Schumpeter, 1934). Creatology accepts this tradition. However, the studies have shown that the only meaning the term innovation has is novelty (Magyari-Beck, 1984c). All the other features are only attributed to the term in question, without being accepted by the community of investigators in this domain. Thus, innovation should be regarded as a more general and elementary concept than that of the creative product. The former is only an ingredient of the latter. One of the possible explanations of this loose definition of innovation can be a strategic one: Firms prefer to let specifying their innovations by the social and economic contexts in which the innovations appear, thus, freeing their creativity from as many restrictions as possible. This kind of definition has disadvantages as well. For example, it is possible to distinguish at least three forms of innovation: development, decline and neutral. Now, it is questionable, whether we can take innovation as a valuable result or not. The decision is again passed to an even larger context (sometimes decline is a very useful event).


Group Achievements



p to now, no specific feature has been found as descriptive for group achievements. Neither the number of authors, nor the interdisciplinary – or inter-art – results speak of the achievements as group achievements per se. After a short preliminary investigation among the scholars and in the domain of art history, the present author came to a conclusion, that to be officially an author of a published writing – and/or any achievements displayed in any material forms: pictures, music notes, buildings and so on – is a question of power. Normally, the real authors only have this kind of power. But we can find a huge number of open or masked thefts even in this area, especially when and where the society deteriorates morally. As far as the interdisciplinary approach is concerned, there are many interdisciplinary – or inter-art – works created by one person. On the other hand, a lot of works, which belonged only to a certain discipline or art, can be results of the groups. On the basis of the afore-said, this square of Creatology Matrix is empty. Philosophically speaking, all the results are necessarily group achievements. We – nevertheless – have to make a distinction between the so-called individual achievements and group achievements so as to be able to raise the question of responsibility in the frequent cases of necessity.


Subjective Creation by Personality



y subjective creation we mean here the results of problem solving by the individual personality. For a Creatologist, no difference exists between problem solving and creative problem solving. In fact, problems cannot be solved using stereotypes only, because in the case of a successful stereotyped behavior there is no problem to be solved in front of the solver. To solve any types of problems, creativity is needed. It is important to define objective creation vis-á-vis the subjective ones. Well, those solutions, which are accepted as solutions also on and for the higher than the individual personality’s level, we call objective creations (accepting that objectivity also has its own levels). Now, there exist at least two theories concerning the relationships between the subjective and objective creation. The first and older theory outlines these relationships as those of inclusion of objective creation in the subjective one. In this model, a lot of individual problem solving occur continuously, however, only a relatively few can be relevant for the groups, organizations, cultures and civilizations. Learning has no place in this model. Creatology sticks to another and more realistic model. Here, the objective creation has an independent from its subjective counterpart region. It is easy to imagine this model composed of two partially overlapping each other circles, according to the rules of Venn diagrams. Those objective creations, which were not subjective at their beginnings, are the results of learning and subjects of transmission from a certain culture to another one. This is a very important way of economic and cultural development. Any kind of partial globalization went in this way (the whole theory of subjective and objective creation with its empirical foundation in: Magyari Beck, 1997).


History as a Creative Process



istory is a permanent process of problem solving. Roots of the problems to be solved are the characteristic of any culture’s crises. Crisis is defined by Creatology as the unique for this or that culture problem of “be or not to be”. In other words, any culture struggle for survival. Thus, every culture and/or civilization is first of all a system of problems, rather than that of solutions. Moreover, in the process of problem solving, the proliferation of problems outdistances the proliferation of solutions. The metaphorical explanation of this paradoxical phenomenon was given by a Hungarian philosopher Lajos Szabó (Mezei, 1973) who maintained that any problem can be solved at the expense of creating three new ones (three is not a necessary figure, it expresses: more than one). If this is true we can understand why every culture collapsed and has to collapse in the history and in the future, too. Now the question rises: Why should we solve our basic problems at all, if all efforts are in vain? The answer of the present author (Magyari-Beck) develops Szabó’s metaphor even further. Namely, if we do not solve our problems the result will be not three but six new problems (six of course is not a necessary figure, it expresses: more than three). Szabó’s and Magyari-Beck’s joint metaphors shed light on the function of creativity on the level of cultures and civilizations. Although creativity cannot prevent any culture from its being destroyed inevitably by its unsolved problems, creativity reduces the speed of decline. The apex of any culture is at the point, where the crises both are stimulating enough and still seem manageable. The apex of cultures is the question of a mere collective illusion.


Process of Innovation



s innovation a function of personality or that of the organization? The answer depends on the kind of theory and practice we offer as the valid and useful ones. If innovation is a function of personality then its theory should be psychological, and practice: the abandonment of organization during innovating. This practice has been named “study leave” or “sabbatical”. If innovation is a function of organization then we should discuss it in terms of arrangements at the workplace. In this chapter, it is more appropriate to concentrate on the second approach, which is closer to the theories of organization rather than to psychology. Organization has a lot of images (Morgan, 1986). However, even the most elementary images are changing continuously. Originally, organizations were regarded as the places of production. However, this image has been altered in two directions. Firstly, it is more fashionable today to define organizations as the conditions only, where the place is not an important element any more. Secondly, production is only a part of the picture, which now consists of much more phases like research, design, development, implementation, production, sale, results and their interpretation. These phases can be put in different systems. The main ones are as follows: chain, circle, total graph (where every phase can communicate with the others). The emphasis is wandering from phase to phase. In literature, we find items, which identify the firm with the process of innovation (Ridderstrale and Nordström, 1999). But this is in fact a reduction vis-á-vis the reality. The process of innovation – in this model – is the circulation of information within the systems.


Creative Cooperation in the Teams



eams are the heroes of twentieth century. Bureaucracy and team developed together, although they sharply contradict each other. Whereas team is a cultural phenomenon, bureaucracy belongs to civilization. As the European – and European-type – societies has already passed their peak, teams started their flourishing as unplanned compensations so as to slow down this fateful rush into the nothing. There are two meanings of teams in European languages. The original vocabulary meaning is simply a group of people having some common features. However, the “team” as a scientific term means the group of people, who, in the process of common problem solving, communicate in informal way within unstructured circumstances. No authority, no rules – except for the directives of human morality – no oppression, but friendly relationship between the members are the main characteristics of creative cooperation in teams. As a result team is the framework of spontaneous thinking and conversation, by way of which the deepest problems and solutions – accessible to the members of the team – emerge (Magyari Beck, 1984d).


Psychological Process of Problem Solving



he science of psychology elaborated a number of brilliant theories of problem solving: transfer theory, trial and error process, Gestalt theory of reasoning, association theory, heuristics, divergent and convergent thinking, psychoanalytical theories of creative thinking, and so on. One of the engines moving this process of investigations was the search for the difference between the so-called productive and reproductive thinking, where the productive thinking had been identified with creative problem solving (Székely, L. 1950). As the Second World War put a sudden end to the classical European studies in this area, and the research after the war pursued first of all the applications of pre-war findings, we still have no synthesis of the afore-mentioned theories. The only way to discuss them within a common framework is the historical one (Magyari Beck, 1981b). Except for the psychoanalytical approach, none of these theories turned attention to the contents of problems to be solved. Thus, they omit motivation from the scientific picture of problem solving, which is a chief mistake from the point of view of Creatology. However, Creatology does not share the psychoanalytical way of thinking, where either the instincts or the – the ill defined – archetypes occupy the central place within the human personality. The top concept of Creatology is culture. Human beings are trying to survive via making their culture survive, without which we shall die. We humans are motivated to concentrate on solving the instinctual problems on the level of objective creation if and only if their unsolved status threatens our culture and – by this – our existence (for this reason too, Freud’s theory was a real objective creation).


Theory of Creative Cultures and Civilizations



ultures are all necessarily creative otherwise they would die out immediately. However, there are two main differences between them: the level of creativeness and the direction of creativeness. Level indicates the quality of a culture. Cultures of the world have always been arranged around a couple of leading nations, ethnic groups or empires, which produced great models for mankind. These elite cultures both attracted and oppressed those who followed them. The follower cultures can also be arranged according to their creativeness. As a result, we always have several unfixed cultural levels where the specific cultures themselves have been permanently changing. The more creative a culture is the more durable it can be. Although, globalization is an important and viable process today, the disappearance of the World’s cultural variety is questionable. Behind the creativity of every culture, one can find the knowledge of its basic existential problems by its members. When this knowledge disappears the dynamics of creativity also ceases. This is why the small – in their physical size – cultures are frequently extremely creative. Cultures are seldom developing in all possible directions. In some cultures, science dominates the picture, in others the art or philosophy and so on. In the circle of “scientific” cultures, it is also possible to discover a kind of division of labor. This is also true for the cultures of art. The specialization of cultures depends on the nature of their basic existential problems. Cultures, after reaching the status of civilization, are scientific as a rule. Neither the level nor the (extent of) specialization is easy to measure. However, a simple counting of creative products, and identifying their “genre”, both the level and the specialization can be approximated (Magyari-Beck, 1981a, 1997).


Humanistic Organization



ere, we are interested in creative organization. But we selected the name “humanistic” because for a Creatologist “humanistic” and “creative” are synonymous. What sorts of organizations we had and still have. This short overview will deal with three types of organization: bureaucratic, organic and humanistic. Bureaucratic organization puts in the focus the rules, which organize the employees’ activity from outside and tries to avoid all kinds of unregulated behavior. Thus, if the managers in this kind of organization discover a unique act, they immediately create new general rule(s) for the special case. Bureaucracy is an enemy of spontaneity, which makes it noncreative. Moreover, the accumulation of rules leads to a situation in which the same act or phenomenon is regulated from a lot of aspects, thus, the likelihood of the self-contradictory regulation within the bureaucratic organization is growing in the process of the latter’s development. Many times, bureaucracy and anarchy are used as different names of the same “arrangements”. Organic organization heals a lot of diseases bureaucracy is suffering from. The central value of this organization is the adaptation to the outer – many times: market – circumstances. The emphasis is put on the border between the organization and its environment. The inner regulation became a dependent variable, while the outer press has been accepted as independent one. The flexibility of organic organization allowed using certain security considerations as well, e.g. the multiplying of responsibility holders. This measurement imitated the living organisms in Nature: they also perform most of their important biological functions by way of at least doubling the relevant organs. This makes their body symmetrical. However, the outer origin of rules was inherited by the exemplars of organic organizations. In this respect, the (r)evolution has been made by humanistic organizations, where the “rules of the game” come from employees. They contribute to the professional and economic results of organization via using the best of their human capital. For the staff, the outer leader is the task itself, and the inner leader is their own conscience. Two conditions seem necessary for building a humanistic organization: the excellence of labor force, and mechanization and automation of work’s subhuman elements (Magyari Beck, 1997).


The Nature of Creative Team



team is always a system of relationships between a small group of people, which allows spontaneity and freedom of thinking, feeling and expression, limited only by culturally accepted basic norms. However, a team’s creativity depends on the creativity of participants. Here, we display a set of hypotheses partially confirmed by our observations among our university students, based on and arranged according to the following four principles (Magyari Beck, 1984d):

1. If the creativity of participants is average, the results will be average regardless of the number of participants. Using the figure “1” for indicating the average level of creativity, and “x” for indicating the process of cooperation, this hypothesis can be formalized as follows: 1 x 1 x 1 x 1 x ………………. = 1

2. If the creativity of participants is below the average, the results will be below the creativity level of the weakest member of the team. In this case the following sub-cases are possible (fractions indicate the different levels below average, “x” – the process of cooperation): ½ x ½ = ¼ ½ x ½ x ½ = 1/8 ½ x ¼ = 1/8 The above-formalized cases are easily readable. They can be called the instances of negative synergy.

3. If the creativity of participants is above the average, the results will be above the creativity level of the most creative member of the team. In this case the following sub-cases are possible (integers indicate the different levels above the average, “x” – the process of cooperation): 2 x 2 = 4 2 x 2 x 2 = 8 2 x 4 = 8 There is also again a set of useful consequences deductible from these cases. In literature, the term synergy has been applied to the instances of fruitful cooperation. But, as we introduced the term “negative synergy”, it would be better to use here the expression of positive synergy.

4. If the creativity of participants are mixed vis-á-vis the average, the results will depend on the “composition” of the team. E. G. 1 x ½ = ½ 4 x ¼ = 1 8 x ¼ x ¼ = ½ 10 x 1/5 = 2


he main weakness of this theory is methodological. We still do not have the scale for measuring creativity, which would be able to grasp the intervals between the subsequent levels of creativity, thus we cannot establish the so-called average creativity in mathematically acceptable way. The only peer support I got came from Professor F.L. Strodtbeck, when I was a visiting at Stanford University and made a presentation at the department headed by Fred Srodtbeck (Strodtbeck, 1991). Strodtbeck, F.L. was an outstanding expert at jury research in social psychology.


Creativity as a Personal Ability



riginally, the word “creativity” meant the corresponding ability. Today, this concept has a far larger meaning. This chapter focuses on creativity as ability. It was J.P. Guilford, who elaborated the most famous theory in this sub-domain. However, only four factors, from the established one hundred and twenty, had been measured by Guilford, the discoverer of the model. The elaborated till the measuring factors are: fluency of idea generation, flexibility, originality and elaboration. What is behind this state of affairs? Osborn went another, but very similar to Guilford’s way working out his famous brainstorming, where it was the fluency, which counted only. Behind the reduction of personal creativity one can guess at least two reasons: Universal Darwinism and the needs of modern economy. Universal Darwinism works merely with two mechanisms called variety generation and selection of the fittest, avoiding all kind of concretization. Thus, in the West, from the meteors through the plants and animals to the ideas (and so on) Universal Darwinism regards itself as a competent explanation (Richards, 2000).


he needs of economy add the further “wisdom” to the conception. Today’s economy is a market economy, thus, it is absolutely normal for it to split all the processes into demand and supply. This is exactly what frequently happens to the Guilford’s theory as well during its application in the organizational process of problem solving. Fluency was expected from those in the employees’ roles (they represent the idea supply), whereas the flexibility, originality and elaboration became requirements, which appeared on the demand side and were represented by those in the position of managers. This “market relationship” is curiously vertical by its nature. A further step identified – in practice – the fluency with creativity. It is easy to discover the real nature of creativity as an ability, looking behind this story a little bit more substantially. As both the Guilford’s and Osborn’s findings are creative results beyond doubt, they suggest a fruitful abstraction and generalization, which we have already done (Magyari Beck, 1988a, 1988b). The Creatological thesis summarizing our findings is: Creativity as an ability is a set of givens and skills, which makes it possible to apply the basic cultural paradigm to the particular cases of the same culture.


nly the people who identify themselves with the basic cultural paradigms of their cultures – in the West with Universal Darwinism and Universal Market Economy - have a substantial creativity (Magyari Beck, ibid).             
(there is no hyphen between Magyari and Beck before my publications in Hungarian, which has merely historical reasons)

Coleman, S-E. (1993) A Qualitative Analysis of the 1991 International Creativity Working Research Meeting. State University of New York, College at Buffalo, Center for Studies in Creativity (the Meeting was devoted to a comparative analysis of Creatology Matrix).

Fox, J.M. (1988) Computer Based Innovation Resources: A Computer Based System of Citations and Annotations of the Periodical Literature on Creativity. State University of New York, College at Buffalo, Center for Studies in Creativity. p. 118 + 11. Especially from p. 14-

Golestan Hashemi,Sayed Mahdi : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Isaksen, S.G., Murdock, M.C., Firestien, R.L., Treffinger, D.J. (eds.) (1993) Understanding and Recognizing Creativity: The Emergence of a Discipline. Ablex Publishing Corporation, Norwood, New Jersey.

Isaksen, S.G. (2006) Personal communication about the fact according to which more and more students came to him calling themselves Creatologists.

Magyari Beck, I. (1976) Kísérlet a tudományos alkotás produktumának interdiszciplináris meghatározására. (An Attempt of Interdisciplinary Definition of Creative Product in Sciences) Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest. p. 94.

Magyari-Beck, I. (1977/79) About the Necessity of Complex Creatology. In: Janos Farkas (ed.) Sociology of Science and Research. Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, 1979. pp. 175-182.

Magyari-Beck, I. (1981a) Introductory Hypotheses for the Study of Creative Society. Science of Science. 1981, 3-4. pp. 311-319.

Magyari Beck, I. (1981b) Az új születése. (The birth of novelty, a book in Hungarian) Közgazdasági és Jogi Könyvkiadó, Budapest.

Magyari-Beck, I. (1984a) A Method of Measurement of Scientific Production Quality. Science of Science. 1984. 2. pp. 183-195. (Science of Science was a journal published by the Polish Academy of Science. This issue of the journal is full of spelling mistakes)

Magyari-Beck, I. (1984b) What is Creatology? In: Dr. Sándor Klein (publisher) Person to Person. Background Material to the Cross-Cultural Residential Workshop Organized by the Center for Cross-Cultural Communication and the Hungarian Psychological Association, Szeged, Hungary, July 1-7. 1984. pp. 191-202. and Science of Science, 1985. 3-4. pp. 207-217.

Magyari-Beck, I. (1984c) Notes on the Concept of “Innovation” and “Creative Product”. Science of Science. 1984.  2. pp. 159-169.

Magyari Beck, I. (1984d) Vázlatok az alkotó teamről. (Sketches of the Creative Team, a book in Hungarian) MKKE KTI, Budapest, p. 123.  

Magyari-Beck, I. (1987) Oral presentations at the State University of New York, College at Buffalo, Center for Studies in Creativity, Director: Dr. Scott G. Isaksen.

Magyari Beck, I. (1988a) Tehetség mint meghasonlás (Talent as a Disunion of Personality, a book in Hungarian). Tankönyvkiadó, Budapest, p. 215.

Magyari-Beck, I. (1988b) New Concepts about Personal Creativity. In: Tudor Rickards (ed.) Creativity and Innovation Yearbook 1988. Manchester Business School, pp. 121-126.

Magyari-Beck, I. (1990) An Introduction to the Framework of Creatology. The Journal of Creative Behavior.1990. 3. pp.151-160.

Magyari-Beck, I. (1994) Creatology a Postpsychological Study. Creativity Research Journal. 1994. 2. pp. 183-192.

Magyari-Beck, I. (1996) Creativity as a New (and Perhaps the Basic) Paradigm of Economic Psychology. Society and Economy. 1996. 1. pp.142-154.

Magyari Beck, I. (1997) Kreatológiai vázlatok ("Sketches of Creatology", a book in Hungarian) Aula Kiadó, Budapest, p. 212.

Magyari-Beck, I. (1999) Creatology. In: Runco, M.A. and Pritzker S.R. (eds.) Encyclopedia of Creativity. Academic Press, San Diego, London, Boston, New York, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, pp. 433-441.

Magyari Beck, I. (2000) A homo oeconomicustól a homo humanusig. (From Homo Oeconomicus to Homo Humanus, a book in Hungarian) Aula Kiadó, Budapest, p. 177.

Magyari Beck, I. (2006) Kulturális marketing és kreatológia. (Marketing in Culture and Creatology, a book in Hungarian) Semmelweis Kiadó, Budapest, p. 156.

Mezei, Á. (1973) Personal communication

McGirr, N. (2000) Nature’s Conections. An Exploration of Natural History. Natural History Museum, London.

Morgan, G. (1986) Images of Organization. Sage Publications, Inc. Beverly Hills, Newbury Park, London, New Delhi.

Richards, J.R. (2000) Human Nature after Darwin. A philosophical introduction. Routledge, London and New York.

Ridderstrale, J. and Nordström, K. A. (1999) Funky Business. Talent makes capital dance. BookHouse Publishing Sweden AB, Stockholm.   

Stein, M. (1990) Personal communication on the Buffalo Creativity Conference hosted by the Center for Studies in Creativity.

Schumpeter (1934) The Theory of Economic Development. Harvard University, USA, 1968. VIII. Edition.

Strodtbeck, F. L. (1991) Personal communication.

Székely, L. (1950) Productive processes in learning and thinking. Acta psychologica 1950. 2-4. pp. 388-407.

Wehner, L., Csíkszentmihályi, M., Magyari-Beck, I. (1991) Current Approaches in Studying Creativity. Creativity Research Journal. 1991. 3. pp. 261-271.



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