Curse or blessing ? understanding when employee experienced crisis hinder or help creativity

InSeong JEONG, Yaping GONG, Bi-Juan ZHONG

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)


In an increasingly uncertain environment, employees experience crisis from time to time when working in teams. Threat-rigidity theory suggests that crisis hinders employee creativity, whereas sense-making perspective suggest that crisis stimulates it. In this study, we reconcile the two perspectives by theorizing and examining when and how employee experienced crisis in a team (hereafter, employee experienced crisis) hinders or stimulates creativity. We posit that employee experienced crisis hinders creativity via heightened state cognitive closure when an employee has high entity belief but stimulates creativity via enhanced creative process engagement when an employee has high incremental belief. Consistent with the predictions, we found employee experienced crisis had a stronger negative relationship with his or her creativity via stronger state cognitive closure for when entity belief was high. On the other hand, employee experienced crisis had a stronger positive relationship with his or her creativity via greater creative process engagement when incremental belief was high. We discussed the theoretical contributions as well as the practical implications.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAcademy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings
Issue number1
Early online date1 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes



  • AOM Annual Meeting Proceedings 2019
  • AOM Boston 2019

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