Enhancing Employee Creativity: Effects of Choice, Rewards and Personality

Jing Zhou, Greg R. Oldham, Aichia Chuang*, Ryan Shuwei Hsu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


We conducted a quasi-experimental field study of an organization-wide suggestion program and a follow-up laboratory experiment to examine the effects of choice of rewards on employee creativity. As hypothesized, the results of both studies showed that choice had positive, significant effects on the number of creative ideas employees generated and the creativity level of those ideas. Results of the quasi-experiment also showed that creative self-efficacy (CSE) mediated the effects of reward choice. Two general categories of rewards were examined in our studies—those that directly benefited the idea generator (Self) and those that directly benefited charities (Other). We explored the effects of these reward categories on employee creativity and whether employee creative personality interacted with the reward categories to affect employee creativity. Results showed that the reward categories did not have a significant impact on employee creativity. However, both studies demonstrated that in the Other reward condition, employees with a creative personality produced ideas higher in creativity than those with a less creative personality. The quasiexperiment also showed that CSE mediated the effects of the Reward × Creative Personality interaction. We discussed the implications of these results for the future research and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-513
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021 May 13
Externally publishedYes


  • Choice
  • Creativity
  • Field experiment
  • Personality and individual differences
  • Reward and incentive systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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