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James Melvin Rhodes

James Melvin Rhodes

James Melvin “Mel” Rhodes (June 14, 1916 – April 29, 1976) was an American-American educational scientist, assistant professor of education and creativity researcher who was the originator of the pioneering concept of the 4 P of Creativity.


Mel Rhodes was born on June 14, 1916 to Waldo and Grace (Davis) Rhodes in Johnstown, Pennsylvania , as the second eldest of 7 siblings. [1]

He grew up in Middle Taylor , Cambria , Pennsylvania (PA) where his father was a farmer. After graduating from high school, he went to Juniata College , Huntingdon , PA from 1934 till 1938 and earned a BA degree in 1938 (Major in Sociology ). During these years he was president of the Juniata College choir and the Juniata College class of 1938. Having finished his studies of contacting people in the field of Juniata in the years 1938-1941.

One of the first to be drafted for World War II served in the military from 1941 until 1946 as a major in the China-Burma-India Theater (CBI) . [2] After World War II, Rhodes was initially employed as director of personnel at the Johnstown Tribune Publishing Company 1946-1947. Thereafter he accepted a position as Dean of Students and Director of Admissions and Placement at Juniata College 1947-1952. [3] He also continued his studies and earned a MS degree in Education (major in Psychology ) at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn State) in 1950.

In 1948 he was married to Rhoda Catherine Metz whom he puts at Juniata College. [4]

In 1950 he became an elected member of the honorary educational fraternity Phi Delta Kappa and later also of the American Psychological Association (APA) .

He resigned as dean of Juniata College in 1952 because of health reasons and went to Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe (AZ). There he continued his studies and earned his PhD in Philosophy (minor in Psychology) in 1957; [5] his dissertation was signed on May 16, 1956. During his time at the university he was since 1953 also employed at the student’s office and promoted in 1956 to director in charge of this institution. [6]

At the completion of his doctorate he accepted a position as assistant professor at the College of Education , University of Arizona in Tucson , Arizona in 1957. He was on faculty of the department of education from 1957 to 1971 and served for several years as senator -at-large. [7] Also in different positions for the Arizona Education Association (AEA) .

Rhodes died in Highlands, Florida ( Sebring area ) on April 29, 1976 at the age of 60.


J. Melvin and Rhoda Metz Rhodes Scholarship, which was first granted in 1976. [8] According to Juniata’s Development Office, the scholarship is still being awarded.


Rhodes is Noted For His pioneering work in the early study and research of Creativity and is best Known as the architect of the framework of the 4 Ps of creativity and Its involvement SPECIFICALLY for the field of applied creativity. [9]

While he was working on his doctoral dissertation “The Dynamics of Creativity: An Interpretation of the Literature on Creativity with a Proposed Procedure for Objective Research” [10] he was in search for a universal definition of the term creativity. He did not achieve this goal but collected more than 40 definitions, and within these various concepts identified four elementary strands of creativity. [11] This article was later developed in a seminal article “An analysis of creativity “, which is considered to be a conceptual and conceptual approach to creativity. momentous approaches for further research in the field. [12]

Research and theory

The theory of the theory of design and the design of the product is essential, but exhibits a clear-cut composition of four essential components and dominant factors which have an impact on any kind of result, solution or idea. In his epoch-making article Rhodes wrote 1961:

About five years ago I set out to find a definition of the word creativity. I was interested in imagination, originality, and ingenuity. In time I had collected forty definitions of creativity and sixteen of imagination. But as I inspected my collection I have not been exclusively mutually exclusive. They overlap and intertwine. When analyzed, as through a prism, the content of the definitions form four strands. Each strand has unique identity academically, but only in one of four strands operate functionally. [13]

Cet article est devenu the probably MOST Cited single source in applied creativity ever and HAS Established Rhodes’ reputation as a pioneering contributor to creativity research, [14] since it not only endowed has Seemingly unstructured field with a structure, purpose Delivered a classification system and Within it is precise starting-points for research on creativity. [15]

4 Ps of creativity

Which of the following are the most important aspects of creativity in the field of creativity? (Person, Process, Press and Product: [16]

  • “The term, personality, personality, traits, habits, attitudes, self-concept, value systems, defense mechanisms, and behavior.” (p.307).
  • “The term process applies to motivation, perception, learning, thinking, and communication.” (p.308).
  • “The term refers to the relationship between human beings and their environment.” (p.308). This notion and the word “press” are rather common in the field of education.
  • “The term product refers to a form of words, paint, clay, metal, stone, fabric, or other material. (p.309).


The concept itself was copied numerous times, sometimes one-to-one, sometimes simply replacing one term (eg: “place” instead of “press”), many times without crediting the original author. Some followers also tried to add a fifth or sixth term that starts with a “P” (eg: “place”, “problem”, “preference”, “phantasy”, “persuasion”, “passion”, “power” or else ). It is more important that it is included in the original framework, and thus is not included in the concept on an equal footing; in details: “Place” is a part of “press”, “problem” is a starting point to vital part of the “process”, “preference” and “power”

Hence the original lean concept is to be validated as the essential structure of the concept and the concept of “a system that permits researchers to study smaller manageable components of the complex concept of creativity”. [17]This article presents a sound basis both for research and practitioner in the field, to align with a more comprehensive understanding of the subject. [18]


Today more than 600.000 entries for the keyword “4 Ps of creativity” listed on Google and countless quotes in the literature display tellingly the enduring importance of this concept to the field of creativity. Further testimonials are major international conferences and research projects which have been organized around the 4 P model. [19]

Practical use

Adjacent to his significant findings for further study in the field, Rhodes, a result of his work, also arrived at the conclusion for the field of education, that “a body of thought about the nature of the creative process belongs to the arsenal of every teacher and teacher-to-be. ” [20]


  • James Melvin Rhodes: The Dynamics of Creativity: An interpretation of the literature on creativity. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Arizona State University, Tempe 1956
  • Mel Rhodes: An analysis of creativity . in Phi Delta Kappan 1961, Vol. 42: 305-311
  • James Melvin Rhodes: Creativity resides in mental concept. in The Educational Forum, Volume 27, Issue 4, 1963, 477-481

Further reading

  • John Haefele: Creativity and innovation. Reinhold Publishing 1962
  • Tudor Rickards: Creativity and the management of change. Blackwell Publishers 1999
  • Calvin W. Taylor, Frank Barron: Scientific Creativity: Its recognition and development. John Wiley & Sons 1963


  1. Jump up^ US-Census 1940
  2. Jump up^ Veteran Burial Card
  3. Jump up^ Daily News Huntingdon Sept. 29th 1947, p. 14: Dean of students
  4. Jump up^ Daily Huntingdon News Nov. 13th 1948, p. 7: Marriage
  5. Jump up^ Tucson Daily Citizen May 20th 1957, p. 22: PhD awarded
  6. Jump up^ US school yearbooks The Desert, UA 1956
  7. Jump up^ Tucson Daily Citizen May 4th 1957, p. 2: Position as assistant professor appointed
  8. Jump up^ The Hamburg Sun Feb 17th 1983, p. 13: Juniata scholarship granted
  9. Jump up^ ICSC-Blog
  10. Jump up^ UA Campus Repository
  11. Jump up^ Tudor Rickards:Creativity and the management of change. Blackwell publishers 1999. p. 31-2
  12. Jump up^ Website: There Are Four P’s in Creativity?
  13. Jump up^ Mel Rhodes: An Analysis of Creativity. in Phi Delta Kappan 1961, Vol. 42, No. 7, p. 306-307
  14. Jump up^ Tudor Rickards:Creativity and the management of change. Blackwell publishers 1999. p. 31-2
  15. Jump up^ ICSC-Article 4 Ps
  16. Jump up^ Mel Rhodes: An Analysis of Creativity. in Phi Delta Kappan 1961, Vol. 42, No. 7, p. 307-309
  17. Jump up^ Gerard Puccio:Two dimensions of creativity
  18. Jump up^ Exceptional children research review. The Council for Exceptional Children 1968. p 5
  19. Jump up^ Academy of Management Journalforum on innovation, vol. 39, no. 5.
  20. Jump up^ JM Rhodes:Creativity resides in mental conceptin The Educational Forum, vol. 27, issue 4, p 478