Employee perceptions of the climate for creativity in the workplace of Thekwini FET College, Durban.
A climate that stimulates creativity and encourages optimal performance is essential for enhancing the knowledge capacity of organisations. This encompasses the roles played by diverse aspects such as organisational support, freedom, work pressure, idea time/support, workplace challenges and trust/openness. This study is located in the field of Adult Education in general with a specific focus on Workplace Learning. A qualitative study was conducted to describe the perceptions of managers and non-managers in five campuses of Thekwini FET College as either potential enablers or disablers of a creative climate. The research explicates what and how these professionals learn in creative climates. This study examines four research questions: In what ways do employees perceive the climate for creativity in the workplace?; How is the climate for creativity nurtured or stifled in the workplace?; What is meant by a 'creative climate'?; What are the critical success factors for inducing and facilitating a creative climate at Thekwini FET College? Thirteen participants, who had working knowledge experience and were able to provide a rich description of their work climate, were selected. A comprehensive collection and analysis of data was yielded through: (a) semi-structured individual interviews; (b) looking at words, sentences and paragraphs of documents; and (c) informal observations. Data was analysed and interpreted by identifying the themes promulgated by Ekvall's Creative Climate Questionnaire and Amabile's KEYS survey. The findings led to the emergence of two new themes of coping mechanism and informal learning. The discussions inform and support the research from the perspective of employee experience and the theoretical model. The following recommendations were made in terms of: (a) Organisational Culture - devalue bureaucracy with greater interpersonal functioning of trust, freedom and support; (b) People - value and make people central in the workplace; and (c) Value Socialisation - organisational support for informal learning, playful about ideas, tolerant of spirited debates and challenges.