Identifying the Double-Edged Sword of Stardom: High-Status and Creativity in the Context of Status Instability

Len Karakowsky, Igor Kotlyar, Jessica Good

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


According to much of the extant research, the conferral of high-status serves as an invaluable muse for creativity. That is, the research has suggested that high-status affords individuals the confidence, freedom, and leeway necessary to bolster creative performance. However, this assertion is premised on the view that status hierarchies are stable and thereby the conferral of high-status is irrevocable. In reality, ample research evidence has asserted that status hierarchies are often unstable, and hence, high-status is not immutable. Consequently, there is a need to revisit the capacity of high-status to bolster creativity under conditions of status instability. Our theoretical paper draws upon the socio-cultural perspective of creativity, in order to develop a conceptual framework that identifies how status instability can, in fact, impede creative behavior of high-status individuals. The liability of high-status can arise via its impact on risk tolerance, perceived autonomy, and intrinsic/extrinsic reward orientation. Our framework also acknowledges how the individual trait of creative self-efficacy can mitigate the negative impact of status instability. The research propositions we present alongside our framework are intended to guide future research in exploring the role of status in the generation of radical, creative behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-737
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Creative Behavior
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep. 2021


  • autonomy
  • creativity
  • goal orientation
  • high potential
  • status
  • visibility


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