Key Factors for a Creative Environment in Saudi Arabian Higher Education Institutions

Mamdouh Qahl, Osama Sohaib
Journal of Information Technology Education: Innovations in Practice  •  Volume 22  •  2023  •  pp. 001-048

This research explores the influence of organizational-level and individual-level creativity and innovation and the technology acceptance model toward the higher education creative environment that consists of research creativity and teaching creativity.

Creativity and innovation are essential pillars for higher education institutions (HEIs). The two terms are interconnected, where creativity is referring to finding better ideas to do the work, while innovation is referring to how to do and implement these creative ideas. Choosing the optimal creative process and the organizational support needed to develop it is an important goal in achieving a creative and inventive environment. For the success of the creative environment to ensure the improvement of higher education institutions, information technology as social networking sites plays a crucial part in the creative process within universities. However, assessing the creativity and innovation of Saudi higher education institutions has not been well recognized. Universities today serve as knowledge-based institutions because they are at the forefront of cutting-edge R&D and scientific innovations. Creating such a productive research environment in universities, however, necessitates a work culture that encourages employees to be more creative while also encouraging the creation of new ideas and innovations.

A survey instrument was utilized as a quantitative method for this research to gather data from the study sample on the influencing variables employed in the research framework. Respondent data were analyzed using a disjoint two-stage method using PLS-SEM path modelling.

The results of this research contribute to the theoretical and scientific literature by offering a model of creativity and innovation in higher education institutions. The model proposes an optimal blend of organizational, individual, and technology variables that contribute to the development of the Higher Education Creative Environment in HEIs via creativity in teaching and research and a culture of innovation. In another way, the proposed framework especially helps to comprehend the challenges regulating establishing teaching and research creativity in HEIs via the adoption of organizational, individual, and technology enablers identified as part of this study.

According to the results, organizational factors such as organizational encouragement, freedom, and challenging work have a positive relationship with the higher education creative environment. However, realistic work pressure, a lack of organizational impediments, managerial encouragement, and work group support is insufficient to affect the creative environment in higher education in Saudi Arabia. Individual variables (creative thinking skills and expertise, for example) also have a positive impact on the higher education creative environment. In the higher education creative environment, however, the influence of intrinsic motivation is insignificant. Finally, technology factors such as social networking site adoption intention, perceived usefulness, and perceived ease of use have the potential to influence the higher education creative environment.

On the practical front, the obvious recommendation of this research is that it enables top leadership in Saudi HEIs to rethink the norms of creativity and innovation in their institutions, thereby instilling a mindset guided by a flourishing culture of creativity in the HEI environment with a specific focus on creativity practices in research and teaching domains. Furthermore, to promote the environment’s creativity within Saudi Arabian HEIs, university leaders must consider the suggested Organizational, Individual, and Technology factors as key enablers of creativity and innovation, which will guide them in revisiting their strategic actions in terms of further augmenting the creative performance of their academic’s staff, thereby sustaining a culture of Higher Education Creative Environment (HECE).

This study addressed many organizational, individual, and technology variables that facilitate Saudi Arabian HECE accomplishment in the form of research and teaching creativity. Furthermore, fresh insights for Saudi public HEIs are revealed when the success aspects of the creative environment are considered. If academic leadership at Saudi HEIs is to encourage the creative environment in general and creativity in teaching and research, it would be suitable for them to highlight individual, organizational, and technology success elements. As a result, their HEIs will be able to produce more innovative research, products, and services that can support and meaningfully achieve national transformation initiatives, opening the path for a transition into a knowledge-based economy.

In fact, this research is based on a quantitative research method, and the findings were also significant especially considering the current global crises. It is clearly understood by this process that includes organizational, individual, and technology factors as key enablers of the creative performance of academic staff, thereby sustaining a culture of HECE.

While providing the research model, it is probable that this study overlooked any other crucial aspects influencing creativity and innovation. As a result, future research should look at additional variables that may impact HECE in Saudi Arabian HEIs. Furthermore, while this study focused on deriving HECE with a particular emphasis on research and teaching creativity as results, future research might look at deriving other creativity outcomes (e.g., entrepreneurial creativity) within the investigated HECE dimension.

organizational factors, individual factors, technology factors, creativity, innovation, technology acceptance, Saudi Arabian higher educational institutions
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