Career experiences and scientific performance: A study of social, physical, life, and health sciences

Michael D. Mumford, Mary Shane Connelly, Ginamarie Scott, Jazmine Espejo, Laura M. Sohl, Samuel T. Hunter, Katrina E. Bedell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


The experiences people have over the course of their careers are commonly held to contribute to creative achievement. In this study, an attempt was made to identify the career events contributing to creative achievement in the sciences. Prior theoretical and empirical work was used to identify relevant career events in the areas of education, domain exposure, mentoring, adversity, work procedures, collaboration, laboratory leadership, and organizational influences. Obituaries were obtained for 499 scientists working in multiple fields in the social, physical, life, and health sciences and were used to assess whether these events were evident in scientists' careers. Comparisons of high achieving and low achieving scientists with regard to these events indicated that multiple events lying in each of these general areas contributed to career achievement. The nature of the events yielding significant differences were discussed regarding their implications for the development of creative potential in scientific fields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-129
Number of pages25
JournalCreativity Research Journal
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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