Within-person Relationships between Mood and Creativity: The Moderating Roles of Trait Goal Orientation and Trait-relevant Context

Leung To (2011). Within-person Relationships between Mood and Creativity: The Moderating Roles of Trait Goal Orientation and Trait-relevant Context PhD Thesis, School of Business, The University of Queensland.

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Author Leung To
Thesis Title Within-person Relationships between Mood and Creativity: The Moderating Roles of Trait Goal Orientation and Trait-relevant Context
School, Centre or Institute School of Business
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-09
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Prof. Neal Ashkanasy
Prof. Cynthia D. Fisher
Dr. Patricia Rowe
Total pages 233
Total colour pages 11
Total black and white pages 222
Language eng
Subjects 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Abstract/Summary In this thesis, I report studies of creativity as a process by which individuals generate novel and useful ideas or solutions to problems. People are not always at their creative best. Understanding that creativity may vary within-person across time, as well as the factors affecting these fluctuations, provides a lever that may be useful to improve creative outcomes. Following decades of research inquiry, it is evident that mood states influence momentary creativity. Nonetheless, controversy remains as to when moods can lead to creativity. Most existing research perspectives focus only on the effects of mood valence (positive versus negative mood), while neglecting a second mood dimension of activation (activating versus deactivating mood). The model I propose in this thesis is based on the dual pathway model, which describes different roles for mood valence and activation in facilitating creativity. Specifically, creative ideas can be achieved through flexible processing of information (the flexibility route), and/or persistent probing and systematically and incrementally combining elements and possibilities (the persistence route). I draw on the dual pathway model to argue that activating moods (e.g., ‘excited’, ‘angry’) rather than deactivating moods (e.g., ‘calm’, ‘bored’) provide enhanced energy and cognitive capability to foster creative process in natural settings. Positive activating moods facilitate the first route by enabling cognitive flexibility and novelty seeking, whereas negative activating moods facilitate the second path by sustaining hard work and prolonged effort toward producing unusual and original solutions. Nevertheless, mood effects on creativity are not necessarily uniform across persons and situations. Researchers suggest that both individual and contextual characteristics, and their compatibility, may play a role in promoting or inhibiting creativity. For this reason, I draw on trait activation theory to propose that trait and trait-relevant context align to enable individuals to channel activating moods to creativity more effectively. I hypothesise that the propensities residing in three trait goal orientations (learning, prove, and avoidance) will be expressed when respective trait-relevant contexts (i.e., job control, supervisory support for creativity, and psychological punishment) are present, thereby moderating activating mood-creativity links. Using a within-person approach, I conduct two experience sampling studies to investigate mood-creativity relationships, and the moderating effects of dispositional goal orientation and contextual influence on these relationships. In Study 1, a total of 778 momentary reports were collected from 30 postgraduate students over ten working days. The participants completed an on-line questionnaire three times per day. In Study 2, a total of 558 half-day reports were collected from 68 employees over five working days. The participants were employees from R&D/marketing organisations. They completed an on-line questionnaire twice per day. In both studies, the participants also filled in a one-time questionnaire measuring trait goal orientations and perceived work contexts. As expected, results of Study 1 showed that activating positive and activating negative moods were positively associated with concurrent creative process, whereas deactivating moods of both valences were negatively related to creative process. Activating negative mood had a significant lagged effect on creative process while activating positive mood did not. I also found that activating positive mood interacted with prove goal orientation and supervisory support for creativity, in that activating positive mood had the strongest association with creative process engagement when both prove goal orientation and supervisory support were high. Results of Study 2 further confirmed the important role of congruence between person and environment in producing mood-creativity relationships. I found that activating negative mood was positively associated with creative process when learning goal orientation and job control were both high. Activating negative mood, however, was negatively related to creative process when learning goal orientation was high but job control was low. Further, activating negative mood was found to have a positive relationship with creative process engagement when both avoidance goal orientation and psychological punishment were low. Study 2 also replicated the three-way interaction of supervisory support, prove goal orientation, and activating positive mood in explaining creative process. This thesis makes several unique contributions to the literature. First, the studies described in this thesis are among the first to explore within-person relationships between mood and creative process in natural settings. Second, my findings extend the laboratory work conducted by past researchers who focused only on immediate consequences of moods, supporting that both mood activation and valence play roles in facilitating the dual pathways to creativity on real projects over time. Third, I derive and test hypotheses about how alignment between trait and context moderates the effects of mood on creativity. This responds and contributes to past work, which suggests the importance of investigating boundary conditions under which moods influence creativity at work. Fourth, I integrate the interactionist and cross-level approaches to creativity, both of which are recognized as important avenues for future research on creativity, and hence contribute to resolving some of the uncertainty about mood-creativity relationships that still exists in the literature.
Keyword Creative Process
Goal Orientation
Trait-relevant Context
Additional Notes n/a

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Created: Tue, 15 Nov 2011, 09:29:53 EST by Mr Leung To on behalf of Library - Information Access Service