hero image
Jill Perry-Smith - Emory University, Goizueta Business School. Atlanta, GA, US

Jill Perry-Smith

Professor of Organization & Management; Academic Director, The Roberto C. Goizueta Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation | Emory University, Goizueta Business School







What helps unlock our Inner creativity? | Jill Perry-Smith | TEDxPeachtree Professor Jill Perry-Smith discusses the tools a student needs for success Importance of creativity in the workplace Emory Executive Education Faculty Profile: Jill Perry-Smith


The Journey of an Idea



Jill Perry-Smith is Professor of Organization & Management at Emory University. Professor Perry-Smith currently serves as the Academic Director for the Roberto C. Goizueta Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She joined the Goizueta Business School faculty after receiving her PhD in organizational behavior from the College of Management at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Professor Perry-Smith’s research investigates how social networks and relationships impact creativity and innovation. In another stream of research, she explores how family influences work engagement and the role of company policies that help employees integrate life and work. Her research has appeared in leading management journals such as Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, and Journal of Applied Psychology; she also has contributed to several books including Encyclopedia of Creativity, and The Oxford Handbook of Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. Professor Perry-Smith has served as an associate editor of Academy of Management Journal.

Prior to her academic career, Professor Perry-Smith worked in the oil and gas industry overseeing large refinery expansion projects across the United States. She brings her unique vantage point as a former civil engineer to her approach to teaching. She teaches courses in the areas of groups & teams and creativity & innovation. She also teaches organizational behavior seminars in the PhD program.

Education (3)

Georgia Institute of Technology: PhD, Organizational Behavior 2002

Pepperdine University: MBA, Management 1991

Syracuse University: BS, Civil Engineering 1989

Areas of Expertise (3)

Creativity and Innovation

Informal Social Networks

Work-Life Initiatives

Publications (9)

“Who are you going to call?” Network activation in creative idea generation and elaboration.

Academy of Management Journal


Considering creativity as a journey beyond idea generation, scholars have theorized that different ties are beneficial in different phases. As individuals usually possess different types of ties, selecting the optimal ties in each phase and changing ties as needed are central activities for creative success. We identify the types of ties (weak or strong) that are helpful in idea generation and idea elaboration, and given this understanding, whether individuals activate ties in each phase accordingly. In an experimental study of individuals conversing with their ties, we provide evidence of the causal effects of weak and strong ties on idea generation and idea elaboration. We also find that individuals do not always activate ties optimally and identify network size and risk as barriers. Our results in a series of studies reveal that individuals with large networks, despite providing more opportunity to activate both strong and weak ties, activate fewer weak ties and are less likely to switch ties across phases than individuals with smaller networks, particularly when creativity is perceived as a high-risk endeavor. Finally, we find that activating the wrong ties leads to either dropping creative ideas or pursuing uncreative ones.

The paradox of family structure and plans after work: Why single childless employees may be the least absorbed at work

Academy of Management Journal


Existing research has shown that positive family experiences can affect work positively. In this article, however, we consider how family may enhance work even when family experiences are not explicitly positive. We draw on boundary theory and cognitive psychology’s current concerns theory to evaluate how employees’ family structures and associated after-work activities affect their work absorption.

view more

From creativity to innovation: The social network drivers of the four phases of the idea journey

Academy of Management Review


Interest has burgeoned, in recent years, in how social networks influence individual creativity and innovation. From both the theoretical and empirical points of view, this increased attention has generated many inconsistencies. In this article we propose that a conceptualization of the idea journey encompassing phases that the literature has so far overlooked can help solve existing tensions. We conceptualize four phases of the journey of an idea, from conception to completion: idea generation, idea elaboration, idea championing, and idea implementation.

view more

Social network ties beyond non-redundancy: An experimental investigation of the effect of knowledge content and tie strength on creativity

Journal of Applied Psychology

2014 Social network research emphasizes the access to nonredundant knowledge content that network ties provide. I suggest that some content is more beneficial than others and that tie strength may affect creativity for reasons other than the associated structure. That is, tie strength may affect how individuals process nonredundant knowledge. I investigate 2 types of knowledge content—information (i.e., facts or data) and frames (i.e., interpretations or impressions)—and explore whether tie strength influences their effect on creativity.

view more

The emergence of team creative cognition: the role of diverse outside ties, sociocognitive network centrality, and team evolution

Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal

2008 We introduce the concept of team creative cognition and discuss how it is transferred and infused within the team to enable the team's creativity. Specifically, we propose that diverse personal ties outside of the team shape and strengthen individual team member's 'creative muscle,'and that this individual creative cognition is infused within the team through modeling processes, ultimately resulting in team creative cognition. We further propose that team member centrality in the team's sociocognitive network, as well as the ...

view more

Social yet creative: The role of social relationships in facilitating individual creativity

Academy of Management Journal

2006 Integrating creativity and social network theories, I explore the direct and interactive effects of relationship strength, network position, and external ties on individual creative contributions. Results from a study of research scientists suggest that weaker ties are generally beneficial for creativity, whereas stronger ties have neutral effects. I also found that centrality is more positively associated with creativity when individuals have few ties outside of their organization and that the combination of centrality and many outside ties is not ...

view more

The social side of creativity: A static and dynamic social network perspective

Academy of Management Review

2003 We explore the association between the context of social relationships and individual creativity. We go beyond a one-dimensional treatment of social relationships, highlighting the importance of both static and dynamic social network concepts. We argue that weaker ties are generally but not always beneficial for creativity, propose the network positions that facilitate and constrain creative work, and describe three moderators. A spiraling model is presented, capturing the cyclical relationship between creativity and ...

view more

Effects of social-psychological factors on creative performance: The role of informational and controlling expected evaluation and modeling experience

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes

2001 The impact of two social-psychological factors, expected evaluation and modeling, on creativity was investigated in a laboratory study. The controlling and informational aspects of expected evaluation were manipulated and individuals were provided no example, a standard example, or a creative example of a solution to a representative management problem. As expected, individuals had significantly higher creativity and intrinsic motivation when anticipating an informational rather than a controlling evaluation. In addition, ...

view more

Work-family human resource bundles and perceived organizational performance

Academy of Management Journal

2000 Although typically excluded from strategic human resource models, bundles of work-family policies may be an HR approach related to competitive advantage. Symbolic action and resource-based views provide conceptual support for such a relationship. Results from a national sample of 527 US firms suggest that organizations with more extensive work-family policies have higher perceived firm-level performance. In addition, there was partial support for the hypotheses that the relationship between work-family bundles and firm ...

view more

Research Spotlight

In the News (7)

The Pros and Cons of Starting a Business With Your Spouse

The Wall Street Journal  online


This is the kind of experience that Jill Perry-Smith, professor of organization and management at Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business, has had in her studies of the intersection between work and family roles. “Working with people who are very close to us and we have deep knowledge of their thinking can be very helpful in implementing,” she says. “When a crisis occurs, they are able to move forward at a steady pace quickly because they understand each other.”

view more

How Collaboration Needs Change From Mind to Marketplace

MITSloan Management Review  online



view more

You’ve Built a Racially Diverse Team. But Have You Built an Inclusive Culture?

Harvard Business Review  online


Whether business leaders have social justice aims in mind, wish to win the war on talent, or embrace the value-creating potential of a diverse workforce, race is at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

view more

Emory Life Emory Faculty Present at TedxPeachtree

The Emory Wheel  online


Along with Vilhauer’s talk about positive future thought and action, two other Emory-affiliated community members — Neurosurgery Resident Physician at Emory Jordan Amadio and Associate Professor at the Goizueta Business School Jill Perry-Smith — spoke at this year’s TedXPeachtree event. Amongst beatbox performances and demos of friendly robots, the three discussed their respective research about psychology, neuroscience and management...

view more

Why It's Dangerous to Ask Your Friends and Family for Advice

Inc.  online


Dr. Jill Perry-Smith, an Associate Professor of Organization and Management at Emory University and speaker at the upcoming TEDxPeachtree, has an interesting perspective on creativity.

view more

MARTA spent $144,000 on help for top management

AJC  online


Jill Perry-Smith, an expert on organizational behavior at the Emory University, said businesses commonly hire outside consultants to try and determine what might be creating management problems, but such probes are generally are topical and not focused on the top executive. “That is unusual,” she said. “It might suggest there is a problem with the leadership that needs to be addressed or it might suggest something else. It might send an unintended message that those commissioning it did not intend to send.”...

view more

Trying to be creative in a 'Dilbert' world

CNN  online


"Within organizations, there are different objectives," says Jill Perry-Smith, a professor at Emory University's Goizueta Business School who has studied the effect of informal social networks on creativity. "In many cases, some of the systems that produce effective organizations simultaneously may hamper creativity within those firms."...

view more