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Does job stress enhance employee creativity? Exploring the role of psychological capital

Azka Ghafoor (Department of Management, Faculty of Business and Law, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)
Jarrod Haar (Department of Management, Faculty of Business and Law, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 1 March 2021

Issue publication date: 29 March 2022

2275

Abstract

Purpose

Using the conservation of resource theory, the purpose of this paper is to investigate the potentially positive influence of job stress on creativity through the resource caravan approach. The influence of job stress directly and as a moderator of psychological capital (PsyCap) is explored. Finally, the influence of stress on creativity is investigated as a boundary condition that impacts on the PsyCap-creativity relationship via job satisfaction.

Design/methodology/approach

Relationships were tested on two samples: (1) an international employee cohort (n = 269) and (2) a New Zealand employee sample (n = 475) and similar effects were found in both studies.

Findings

PsyCap was found to influence job satisfaction and creativity, with job satisfaction partially mediating this direct effect. Job stress has a positive moderation effect with PsyCap toward creativity, supporting Conservation of Resources theory, which suggests that high PsyCap individuals would have the psychological resources to leverage stress beneficially, making their behaviors more creative. Significant moderated mediation effects indicate complex indirect effects with PsyCap on creativity (via job satisfaction) increasing as job stress gets higher.

Practical implications

This study calls for researchers' attention toward potentially positive influences of stress when considered in combination with high psychological resources. Practical implications focus manager's and leader's attention toward the enhancement of employees' psychological resources for its stress and creativity related benefits.

Originality/value

The findings provide new theoretical support for understanding how stress can positively influence creativity. The use of two samples improves confidence in these findings.

Keywords

Citation

Ghafoor, A. and Haar, J. (2022), "Does job stress enhance employee creativity? Exploring the role of psychological capital", Personnel Review, Vol. 51 No. 2, pp. 644-661. https://doi.org/10.1108/PR-08-2019-0443

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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