How highly creative people shape their creative identity

Stierand, Marc and Mainemelis, Charalampos and Dörfler, Viktor (2019) How highly creative people shape their creative identity. In: AoM 2019: 79th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management. Boston, MA, 2019-08-09 - 2019-08-13.

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Using a qualitative-exploratory study that spans over several years, we explain how highly creative chefs engage in aesthetic composing, which we define as the deliberate transforming of felt aesthetic stimuli in due consideration of advancing a creative identity. We induce how world-renowned Michelin starred chefs receive inspiration from aesthetic stimuli through their aesthetic sensibility and using their aesthetic knowing give meaning to these aesthetic stimuli. Our findings suggest that the phase of aesthetic sensibility initiates the phase of aesthetic composing that, in turn, can communicate back to the chef’s aesthetic sensibility. During aesthetic composing, chefs consider three reflection points: aesthetic emotion, aesthetic simplicity, and aesthetic harmony. These reflection points seem to be a salient ‘tool’ that is representative of the ability to shape a creative identity. By theorizing the aesthetic as an important dimension of creative work, we contribute to scholarly and practitioner knowledge around how creative identities are shaped.