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Exploring dark creativity : the role of power in an unethical marketing task.

Palmer, Carolin and Kraus, Sascha and Ribeiro-Soriano, Domingo (2020) 'Exploring dark creativity : the role of power in an unethical marketing task.', Economic research -Ekonomska Istraživanja., 33 (1). pp. 145-159.


Creativity is seen as a significant driver for successful marketing activities. However, little attention is paid to its shady side and little research on the prerequisites for unethical behaviour of marketing experts and executives is on hand. In our experimental study, we examine the mutual influence of power, honesty-humility, and benevolent creativity as predictors for ‘dark creativity’ (the use of creative ideas for malevolent actions). Participants (N = 387) were randomly assigned to a high vs. low power condition (role of marketing director vs. marketing intern). Dark creativity was correlated to benevolent creativity, power motive, and honesty-humility, but did not depend on the power condition participants have been assigned to. In a hierarchical regression analysis only benevolent creativity and power motive predicted dark creativity. Additional variance was explained by role identification. This article is the first to investigate the impact of power on creativity in an immoral occupational task. Our findings support the concept of dark creativity as a combination of cognitive abilities and motivational aspects. The manipulation of power condition should be replicated in further research.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date accepted:29 May 2019
Date deposited:11 March 2020
Date of first online publication:27 February 2020
Date first made open access:11 March 2020

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