Enhancing creativity in organizations: the role of the need for cognition

Yan Pan, Yufan Shang, Richards Malika

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose: The authors explain the conditions under which positive personality traits and work environment factors either interact synergistically or yield diminishing-gains when creative individuals are in a supportive working environment. Design/methodology/approach: Data were obtained using a time-lagged design. The final sample includes 350 researchers from 64 scientific research teams. Findings: The results indicate that the need for cognition is positively associated with individual creativity. Furthermore, this study suggests that perceived organizational support for creativity can complement an individual's need for cognition when it comes to individual creativity. This indicates a synergistic pattern. On the other hand, psychological safety can substitute for an individual's need for cognition when influencing individual creativity. Thus, a diminishing-gains pattern also exists. Practical implications: The results suggest that when individuals are stuck in environments of low psychological safety, yet perceive higher levels of organizational support for creativity, their levels of creativity can be boosted. Originality/value: This study is among one of the first to explore a supportive context's complementary or substitution effect on positive personality traits by demonstrating the complementary effect of perceived organizational support for creativity and the substitution effect of psychological safety. This study validates the positive effect of the need for cognition on creativity. This study also enriches the psychological safety literature by showing that psychological safety is not always necessary for individuals with a high need for cognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2057-2076
Number of pages20
JournalManagement Decision
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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