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Workplace duties or opportunities?: challenge stressors, regulatory focus, and creativity

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date07/2013
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Number of pages17
Original languageEnglish


Previous research has produced contradictory findings about the impact of challenge stressors on individual and team creativity. Based on the challenge–hindrance stressors framework (LePine, Podsakoff, & LePine, 2005) and on regulatory focus theory (Higgins, 1997), we argue that the effect of challenge stressors on creativity is moderated by regulatory focus. We hypothesize that while promotion focus strengthens a positive relationship between challenge stressors and creativity, prevention focus reinforces a negative relationship. Experimental data showed that high demands led to better results in a creative insight task for individuals with a strong trait promotion focus, and that high demands combined with an induced promotion focus led to better results across both creative generation and insight tasks. These results were replicated in a field R&D sample. Furthermore, we found that team promotion focus moderated the effect of challenge stressors on team creativity. The results offer both theoretical insights and suggest practical implications.