When does negative mood boost creativity: A trait activation perspective

March Leung To, Cynthia Fisher

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Using a within-person approach, we investigated the boundary conditions under which activating negative mood may promote or inhibit concurrent creative process engagement (CPE). Drawing on trait activation theory, we propose that dispositional goal orientation (learning goal orientation and avoidance goal orientation) will be expressed in response to trait-relevant work contexts (job control and psychological punishment respectively), thereby moderating the effects of activating negative mood on CPE. As expected, activating negative mood was positively associated with CPE when learning goal orientation and job control were both high. Activating negative mood was negatively related to CPE when learning goal orientation was high but job control was low. Further, activating negative mood had a positive relationship with CPE when both avoidance goal orientation and psychological punishment were low. Our results suggest the important role of congruence between person and environment in producing mood-creativity relationships. Integrating the interactionist and cross-level approaches, our study contributes to untangling some of the complexity surrounding the associations between negative mood and creativity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWest meets East: Enlightening, Balancing, and Transcending
EditorsM-J Chen
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherAcademy of Management
Number of pages33
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventAnnual Meeting of the Academy of Management : West meets East: Enlightening, balancing, transcending - San Antonio, TX, USA, San Antonio, TX, United States
Duration: 12 Aug 201116 Aug 2011
Conference number: 71st


ConferenceAnnual Meeting of the Academy of Management
Abbreviated titleAOM 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Antonio, TX
Internet address


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