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What do we need for creativity? The interaction of perfectionism and overall justice on creativity

Seckyoung Loretta Kim (College of Business Administration, Incheon National University, Incheon, Republic of Korea)
Myungsun Kim (Department of Management, The University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA)
Seokhwa Yun (Department of Business Administration, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 6 February 2017




The purpose of this paper is twofold, applying an interactive perspective. First, the authors examine the effects of perfectionism, specifically self-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism on creativity. Understanding the distinctive effects of two dimensions of perfectionism (Leonard and Harvey, 2008), the authors propose the positive effect of self-oriented perfectionism on creativity while the negative effect of socially prescribed perfectionism on creativity. Second, the authors explore the role of overall justice by examining the direct and interacting effects of the two dimensions of perfectionism on creativity.


Data were collected using questionnaires distributed to employees and their direct supervisors located in South Korea. Hierarchal regression analyses were used to examine the main and moderating effects.


The authors’ results demonstrated that self-oriented perfectionism was positively related to employee’s creativity; while, socially prescribed perfectionism was not significantly related to employee’s creativity. Furthermore, the study examined the critical context factor of overall justice in determining individual creativity. The result demonstrated that the positive relationship between self-oriented perfectionism and creativity was stronger when overall justice is low rather than high in line with trait activation theory.

Research limitations/implications

A cross-sectional design may be a concern. Future research needs to take a more careful approach to avoid this potential problem.


This study enriches our understanding of the two domains of perfectionism (self-oriented and social prescribed perfectionism) and overall justice as critical factors for creativity. Applying an interactive perspective, this study demonstrated how perfectionism and overall justice play important roles in influencing employees’ creativity independently and jointly.



This study was supported by the Institute of Management Research at Seoul National University.


Kim, S.L., Kim, M. and Yun, S. (2017), "What do we need for creativity? The interaction of perfectionism and overall justice on creativity", Personnel Review, Vol. 46 No. 1, pp. 154-167.



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