Creativity and social alienation : the costs of being creative

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1252-1276
Journal / PublicationInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number12
Online published14 Sep 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2016


Although creativity is a widely praised merit, the psychological costs that an employee may pay for being creative are less examined. The present study advances the research paradigm on the dark side of creativity by focusing on the negative psychological state (social alienation) of creative employees. By building on the studies on the homophily principle and on the cultural perspective of creativity, we investigated why creative employees are more likely to experience social alienation. Drawing on the social capital theory, we point out that social alienation of creative employees depends on their networking ability and harmony enhancement motive. A two-wave survey among 311 employees from 59 Chinese organizations supported the hypotheses. Implications of the findings are discussed for creativity and alienation literature as well as management practice.

Research Area(s)

  • creativity, harmony enhancement, networking ability, social alienation

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