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Can innovative work behaviour spur creativity while working remotely? The role of work–home conflict and social isolation

Grazia Garlatti Costa (DEAMS, University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy)
Guido Bortoluzzi (DEAMS, University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy)
Matej Černe (School of Economics and Business, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Management Research Review

ISSN: 2040-8269

Article publication date: 23 December 2022




During the COVID-19 pandemic, huge numbers of employees shifted to remote working, with various consequences for their family and working lives. This study aims to focus on the factors that affect their creativity while working from home. As individual creativity is shaped by context, the authors investigate the moderating role of the domestic environment on employees’ creative contributions while working remotely.


The authors base the arguments on the complexity perspective on innovative work behaviour (IWB) and consider innovation a recursive process in which innovative behaviour can inform, and not simply follow, subsequent creative acts. The sudden spur of the pandemic interrupted the natural recursiveness of the creativity–innovation process and allowed them to empirically investigate the direct and indirect effects that levels of pre-pandemic IWB had on individuals’ creative behaviour. The authors hypothesise that this relationship is moderated by two resource-conserving contextual factors: work–home conflict and a feeling of social isolation. The participants were 803 employees from several Italian corporations. The data were collected during the first lockdown period (April–May 2020).


The findings support the existence of a three-way interaction, suggesting that IWB affects further creative behaviours when both work–home conflict and social isolation are low.


To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study that investigates what happened to employees’ creativity during the COVID-19 massive remote working situation. The results should be interpreted beyond the unique context because remote working will continue.



Garlatti Costa, G., Bortoluzzi, G. and Černe, M. (2022), "Can innovative work behaviour spur creativity while working remotely? The role of work–home conflict and social isolation", Management Research Review, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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