Purpose: Previous studies overemphasize the negative effects of social media usage (SMU) within organizations and underestimate its positive influences on employees' behavior. This study attempts to link employees' social media use at work to their creativity performance. Design/methodology/approach: Based on the bounded generalized reciprocity theory and unbounded indirect reciprocity (UIR) theory, the authors developed a research model. To test the model, the authors collected a set of 172 paired data of organizations and employees from 31 knowledge-intensive enterprises in China to test the hypothesis. Findings: This research found that the social, cognitive and hedonic uses of social media all directly affect employee creativity. Relational energy fully mediates the effects of the cognitive and hedonic usages on creativity. Moreover, job autonomy moderates the effects of the relationships among the social, cognitive and hedonic uses on employee creativity. Originality/value: The conclusions not only enriched authors’ understanding of the effectiveness of interpersonal interaction but also extended the research boundary of the relationship between SMU and employee creativity.
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