Mechanisms underlying creative performance: Employee perceptions of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards for creativity

Hye Jung Yoon1, Sun Young Sung2, Jin Nam Choi3
1Johnson School of Business, Cornell University, United States
2School of Business, Nanjing University, People’s Republic of China
3College of Business Administration, Seoul National University, Republic of Korea
Cite this article:  Yoon, H. J., Sung, S. Y., & Choi, J. N. (2015). Mechanisms underlying creative performance: Employee perceptions of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards for creativity. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 43, 1161-1180.

Volume 43 Issue 7 | e4793 | Published: August 2015 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2015.43.7.1161

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In this study, we clarified some of the ambiguities in the rewards-creativity relationship by focusing on creative performance in organizations that is contingent on intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. Participants were 241 employee-peer pairs working in various industries. The results indicated that, regardless of the degree of importance of the reward as perceived by the employee, intrinsic rewards exerted a significant direct positive effect on creativity. In contrast, extrinsic rewards exerted only a significant indirect effect on employee creativity via commitment to creativity. Moreover, the effect of extrinsic rewards on creative performance was moderated by the degree of importance of that reward as perceived by the employee. The reward promoted creativity only when the employee regarded that reward as important. Our findings demonstrate distinct underlying mechanisms and boundary conditions of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards in shaping individual employee creativity.

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