The present daily diary study among employees from various occupational sectors used conflict and creativity theories to hypothesize that task conflict has an inverted U-shaped relationship with employee creativity (i.e., creativity is higher at moderate than low or high levels of conflict). In addition, we argue that this curvilinear effect is likely to occur when employees proactively increase their job resources. A total of 92 employees filled out a diary survey at the end of five consecutive days. Results of multilevel analyses revealed that, as predicted, task conflict had an inverted U-shaped link with creativity when employees increased their structural job resources. However, when employees increased their social job resources, the link was linear and positive. Our findings also showed that increasing job resources related positively to employee creativity – this effect was found for both increasing structural and social job resources. We discuss the theoretical contributions of these findings and conclude that moderate task conflict has the potential to benefit organizations.

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Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Department of Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Petrou, P., Bakker, A., & Bezemer, K. (2019). Creativity under task conflict: The role of proactively increasing job resources. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, In press. doi:10.1111/joop.12250