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CREATIVITY RESEARCH JOURNAL, 20(1), 5366, 2008 Copyright # Taylor & Francis Group, LLC ISSN: 1040-0419 print=1532-6934

online DOI: 10.1080/10400410701841955

Creativity and Certain Personality Traits: Understanding the Mediating Effect of Intrinsic Motivation
Veena Prabhu, Charlotte Sutton, and William Sauser
Auburn University

Creativity is a topic of ever-increasing interest, given its importance and applicability to literally every field. Personality traits have been frequently and predictably related to creative achievement. Amabile (1983) pointed out that individuals may have certain traits and abilities that are favorable for creativity, but whether these will actually result in achieving creative results depends on their intrinsic motivation. Additionally, under certain circumstances extrinsic motivation has been found to have a positive effect on creativity. We hypothesized a conceptual model and tested the mediating and moderating role of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation respectively in the relationship between 3 personality traits (openness to experience, self-efficacy, and perseverance) and creativity. This study, conducted in a university setting, found support for the potential mediating role of intrinsic motivation between creativity=openness to experience as intrinsic motivation partially mediated this relationship. Self-efficacy was closely related to creativity, with intrinsic motivation completely mediating this relationship. Extrinsic motivation moderated the relationship between self-efficacy=creativity and perseverance= creativity and had a negative association with creativity.

Psychologists have shown an interest in creativity since the time of Galton (1883). In fact, research in the domain of creativity over the last 4 decades has generated more than 9,000 published works (Runco, Nemiro, & Walberg, 1998). It has been suggested that some level of creativity is required in almost every job (Shalley, Gilson, & Blum, 2000; Unsworth, 2001). Sternberg (1985) found that the implicit theories of creativity of professors of art, business, philosophy, and physics overlapped significantly, as did the implicit theories of creativity of laypersons. Thus, creativity is not restricted to arts, science, or philosophy, but is also a part of our everyday lives (Runco & Richards, 1997). The words of Anderson (1992) seem quite appropriate:
Creativity is the gift and discipline that provides the competitive edgein marketing, production, finance,

and all of the other aspects in an organization. Firms and managers crave it. Awards are given for it. Incentives encourage and cajole it. But its still the most elusive weapon in an executives arsenal. (p. 40)

We express our appreciation to Howard Clayton for valuable comments and suggestions regarding this article. Correspondence should be sent to Veena Prabhu, Department of Management, College of Business and Economics, California State University, Los Angeles, CA. E-mail:

Simonton (1999) noted that defining creativity was a very difficult task, especially given the diverse approaches used in varied fields. Cognitive psychologists prefer to define creativity in terms of a mental process (Smith, Ward, & Finke, 1995); psychologists in experimental aesthetics define creativity as a product (Martindale, 1990; Simonton, 1989). Personality psychologists prefer to treat creativity as a trait (F. X. Barron, 1969; Eysenck, 1993). However, there has been a growing consensus among creativity researchers regarding the appropriateness of defining creativity in terms of an outcome (Amabile, 1983) such as a novel idea (Amabile, 1988; Woodman, Sawyer, & Griffin, 1993). Martindale (1989) stated, A creative idea is marked by three attributes: it must be original, it must be useful or appropriate for the situation in which it occurs, and it must actually be put to some use (p. 211). Consistent with prior theory and research, we defined creativity



as the generation of novel, original, and unique ideas concerning procedures and processes that can be used at work and are appropriate and significant to the problem or opportunity presented (Amabile, 1988, 1997; Oldham & Cummings, 1996; Shalley, 1991). The relationship between personality traits and creativity has been well documented in the literature (George & Zhou, 2001; Oldham & Cummings, 1996). Feist (1998) aptly described the relation between the two fields of personality and creativity:
The disciplines of personality psychology and creativity share an essential commonality: They both emphasize the uniqueness of the individual. The essence of a creative person is the uniqueness of his or her ideas and behavior, whereas personality psychology is the study of what makes a person unique from others (i.e., individual differences). Both disciplines also focus on the consistency and stabilityor lack thereofof such uniqueness. (p. 290)

The bulk of research on creativity over the years has emphasized various characteristics of individuals successful in creative endeavors (e.g., F. X. Barron & Harrington, 1981; Oldham & Cummings, 1996) suggesting a profile for creative individuals (Eysenck, 1997). Describing in his meta-analysis, Feist (1998) stated:
Empirical research over the last 45 years makes a rather convincing case that creative people behave consistently over time and situation and in ways that distinguish them from others. It is safe to say that in general a creative personality does exist and personality dispositions do regularly and predictably relate to creative achievement. (p. 304)

A major source of evidence for the consistency and generality of creative personality is the fact that samples of creative individuals varying in age and working in different fields have been found to share common characteristics (e.g., F. X. Barron, 1965; Cattell & Butcher, 1970). However, according to Amabile (1983), individuals may have certain traits and abilities that are favorable for creativity, but whether these will actually result in achieving creative results depends on their intrinsic motivation. Steiner (1965) also argued that in order to be creative, an individual has to be inherently interested in the issue or problem and motivated to find a solution. Thus, one of the important sources of creativity is an individuals intrinsic task interest, which leads to a voluntary investigation of new alternatives and ideas (Rogers, 1954). In their review article, Ambrose and Kulik (1999) stated, Individual-level creativity is closely linked to the motivational process and research on creativity has

either implicitly or explicitly used motivation as an invisible, internal, hypothetical construct directing employee behavior (p. 266). Thus, in spite of the vast amount of research carried out in the field of creativity relating to the personality and motivation of the creative individual (Amabile, 1996; Feist, 1998), there is still inadequate empirical support to explain the mechanism by which personality traits are linked to creativity, particularly by way of motivational factors. Runco (2004), in his exhaustive review, aptly stated, Sadly, investigations of correlates of creativity do not necessarily take us any closer to understanding the actual mechanisms that underlie creative capacities (p. 679). This article draws attention to this silence in the creativity literature. Further, we are aware that an individuals motivation to perform a task can be intrinsic or extrinsic (Deci & Ryan, 1985). Although past research centered on intrinsic motivation as the key ingredient in creativity (Amabile, 1988), extrinsic motivation also has an incremental effect on creativity, especially when the reward is contingent on creativity (Eisenberger & Rhoades, 2001; Eisenberger, Rhoades, & Cameron, 1999). The importance of intrinsic motivation in creativity has long been suggested (Crutchfield, 1962), and Choi (2004) provided evidence that both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation under certain conditions contributes to creativity. This study adds to the existing literature by exploring the mediating role of intrinsic motivation and the moderating role of extrinsic motivation in the relationship between personality traits=creativity (see Figure 1). Several traits have been suggested to be related to creativity (see Feist, 1998). However, we chose three traits for which there was theoretical=empirical support that the trait predicted both (a) creative performance and (b) intrinsic motivation. These conditions were in accordance to the characteristics of a mediator variable (see R. M. Barron & Kenny, 1986). After a careful

FIGURE 1 Conceptual model.



literature review, we chose the following three personality traitsopenness to experience, self-efficacy, and perseverance. Since the early work of Mackinnon (1960), one of the traits closely related to creativity is openness to experience (Dollinger, Urban, & James, 2004; George & Zhou, 2001). In fact, of the Five Factor Model dimensions, openness to experience has the most empirical support as being closely related to creativity (Feist, 1998). Bandura (1997) suggested that strong self-efficacy was also an important requirement for creativity. Selfefficacy is defined as beliefs in ones capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given attainments (p. 3). General self-efficacy has been used recently as another dimension of selfefficacy in empirical research (e.g., Eden & Aviram, 1993; Eden & Kinnar, 1991; Eden & Zuk, 1995). However, theory and research to date have indicated that taskand-situation specific self-efficacy and general selfefficacy represent separate constructs (e.g., Cervone, 1997; Sherer & Adams, 1983). Bandura (1986, 1997) argued that specific self-efficacy represents task and situation (domain) specific cognition. On the other hand, general self-efficacy is defined as a generalized trait consisting of ones overall estimate of ones ability to effect requisite performances in achievement situations (Eden & Zuk, 1995, p. 629, italics added). Thus, in contrast to specific self-efficacy, which represents a dynamic, multifaceted belief system that operates selectively across different activity domains and under different situational demands, rather than being a decontextualized conglomerate (Bandura, 1997, p. 42), general self-efficacy consists of trait-like characteristics that are not tied to specific situations or behavior but that generalize to a variety of situations (Sherer et al., 1982, p. 664). It is important for a creative person to have faith in his or her capabilities not just for a temporary phase (belief) but over a stable time period (trait), hence in this study self-efficacy was referred to as a trait (see also Lennings, 1994; Tipton & Worthington, 1984). Mackinnon (1960) observed that another characteristic of creative people is a persistent high level of energy in their work. In spite of phases of disappointment and depression, which blocked their creative striving, creative people continued with perseverance in their creative venture. Perkins (1994) drew attention to the fact that creative breakthroughs were usually the result of strenuous efforts that, in many cases, have been made over several years. Torrence (1988) found perseverance to be one of the main traits in creative individuals. The purpose of this study was three-fold: (a) We first examined the relationship between creativity and the personality traits of self-efficacy and perseverance; (b) next we tested the mediational role of intrinsic

FIGURE 2 Hypothesized model.

motivation between the three personality traits and creativity, and finally, (c) we tested the moderating role of extrinsic motivation (see Figure 2).

CREATIVITY AND SELF-EFFICACY Self-efficacy is ones perceived capability for performing a specific task (Bandura, 1997). This capability has been viewed as a generative capability. This ability influences performance through the adept use of sub-skills, inventiveness, and resourcefulness (Bandura, 1984, 1986). The importance of self-efficacy to creativity has received some support (summarized in Lubart, 1994). Bandura (1997) strongly suggested that self-efficacy is essential for creative productivity. This leads to the hypothesis that self-efficacy will augment creativity.
Hypothesis 1: The trait of self-efficacy will relate significantly and positively to creativity.

CREATIVITY AND PERSEVERANCE Creative ideas are more likely to be implemented if initiative is high (Frese, 2000). Besides a range of selfstarted and proactive behaviors, initiative involves persistent behavior (Frese & Fay, 2001) such as demonstrating perseverance in the face of obstacles (Rank, Pace, & Frese, 2004). Early creativity theorists Newell, Shaw, and Simon (1962) suggested that creative behavior was accompanied by persistence. Torrence (1988) determined that perseverance was one of the main traits in creative individuals. This was clearly illustrated in the studies carried out by Csikszentmihalyi (1996), and later by Adelson (2003). Csikszentmihalyi (1996) interviewed 91 renowned creative individuals and questioned them about their relationships, priorities, habits, and insights. Perseverance stood out as a key characteristic of a creative individual.



Adelson (2003) interviewed the 2002 Franklin Institute Laureates in order to understand some basic issues relating to scientific creativity, including the Ah Hah experience and the relationship of that experience to perseverance, insight, and personal technique. Adelson concluded that perseverance, along with resulting analytic abilities, were prominent features of the interviews. Thus, creativity requires individuals to be perseverant, especially in the face of challenges that are a part and parcel of creative work (Shalley & Gilson, 2004).
Hypothesis 2: Perseverance will be positively and significantly related to creativity.

Hence the mediating role of intrinsic motivation is hypothesized:

Hypothesis 3: Intrinsic motivation will mediate the relationship between openness to experience and creativity.

MEDIATING ROLE OF INTRINSIC MOTIVATION IN CREATIVITY= SELF-EFFICACY Ford (1996) proposed that self-efficacy perceptions influence employee creativity; this was later reaffirmed by Bandura (1997). In fact, Bandura (1986) cited strong self-efficacy as a necessary condition for creative productivity and also suggested that it is inherent in motivational processes. Self-efficacy has also been identified as a key motivational construct within organizations (Gist & Mitchell, 1992). Ford (1996) identified self-efficacy beliefs as a key motivational component in his model of individual creative action. Wood and Bandura (1989) stated, Self-efficacy refers to beliefs in ones capabilities to mobilize the motivation, cognitive resources, and courses of action needed to meet given situational demands (p. 408). An individuals belief in his or her capability mobilizes his or her motivation, especially intrinsic motivation. For example, consider two individuals who are low and high in self-efficacy respectively. The one who is low on self-efficacy may lose interest in the job even before he has begun doing it because he or she has little or no confidence in himself or herself of performing the job to begin with. On the other hand, there is a higher probability that the one who has faith in his or her capability to do the job (high self-efficacy), will find the job doable and, therefore, much more interesting. This suggests that self-efficacy may have a positive impact on intrinsic motivation. From the above discussion, and in the light of the fact that intrinsic motivation is also related to creativity, we hypothesize the mediating role of intrinsic motivation in the relationship between self-efficacy and creativity.
Hypothesis 4: Intrinsic motivation will mediate the relationship between self-efficacy and creativity.

MEDIATING ROLE OF INTRINSIC MOTIVATION IN CREATIVITY=OPENNESS TO EXPERIENCE Deci (1971) suggested that there are two motivational subsystems: extrinsic and intrinsic. An individual is said to be intrinsically motivated when he or she performs a task due to the sheer fascination of the task itself, rather than simply because of its outcomes (Deci & Ryan, 1985). That intrinsic motivation is needed for creativity is well illustrated in the literature (e.g., Amabile, 1983; Simon, 1985) and researchers have empirically verified that there is a positive association between measures of intrinsic motivation and creativity (Tierney, Farmer, & Graen, 1999). Further, intrinsic motivation was also closely associated with both personality traits and creativity (Amabile, 1988, 1996; Oldham & Cummings, 1996; Shalley, 1995; Zhou 1998). Openness to experience is a personality characteristic that reflects characteristics such as imaginativeness, curiosity, originality, and broadmindedness (Costa & McCrae, 1992). It has revealed a robust association with creativity (Dollinger, Urban, & James, 2004; Feist, 1998; George & Zhou, 2001). In fact McCrae and Costa (1997) stated that openness was the most relevant trait for creativity. One element of openness is attentiveness to inner feelings (McCrae & Costa, 1985). Entwistle (1988) found that students who were high in openness to experience exhibited higher levels of intrinsic motivation. The ability to see things from different perspectives has been stressed in the creativity literature (Perkins, 1990; Sternberg & Lubart, 1992). Openness to experience facilitates multiple perspectives thereby building interest in the task itself. Given the characteristics of a mediating variable (see R. M. Barron & Kenny, 1986) the above discussion suggests that (a) openness to experience is closely associated with both intrinsic motivation and creativity, and (b) intrinsic motivation is strongly related to creativity.

MEDIATING ROLE OF INTRINSIC MOTIVATION IN CREATIVITY=PERSEVERANCE Persistence is the other side of the creativity coin (Adelson, 2003, p. 171). Simonton (1999) stated, Creative individuals do not give up easily (p. 635). Creative



individuals are especially persistent when they meet with adversities and disappointments (Chambers, 1964). This was supported by Woodman and Schoenfeldt (1989), who concluded that creative individuals approach a problem with greater persistence. Keynes (1942=1956) suggested that Newtons extraordinary gift may have resulted from the ability to deliberate intensely on a problem for hours, days, or weeks, if necessary, until he had solved it. That hard work is required for creativity has long been stressed (Golann, 1963). The following example illustrates that perseverance does have an effect on intrinsic motivation: As one develops greater expertise and talent in a specific domain due to his or her perseverance, one is likely to find domain-relevant activities to be more positively reinforcing, thereby facilitating intrinsic motivation. However, one must note that the initial reason for developing the expertise may be due to either intrinsic or extrinsic motivation, but on developing the expertise a person is more likely to enjoy the task. The above discussion leads us to the following hypothesis.
Hypothesis 5: Intrinsic motivation mediates the relationship between perseverance and creativity.

motivational factors were largely from extrinsic sources, including rewards, recognition, and training, suggesting that the importance of extrinsic motivation in creativity, especially in work-related activities, should not be minimized. Some work activities may be challenging and interesting (intrinsically motivating), but there may also be other activities that are purely extrinsically motivated (Amabile, 1993). Furthermore, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation could synergistically aid creative performance. Intrinsic motivation may be essential for the novelty in the work, although extrinsic motivation can help to ensure a timely and complete output (Amabile, 1993). Hence, we hypothesized the moderating role of extrinsic motivation in creativity.
Hypothesis 6: Extrinsic motivation will moderate the relationship between openness to experience and creativity. Hypothesis 7: Extrinsic motivation will moderate the relationship between self-efficacy and creativity. Hypothesis 8: Extrinsic motivation will moderate the relationship between perseverance and creativity.

METHOD Data Collection Procedure and Participants

MODERATING ROLE OF EXTRINSIC MOTIVATION IN CREATIVITY Although Crutchfield (1962) suggested that both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation stimulate creative activity, intrinsic motivation is said to be more effective with respect to the creativity of the individual (Amabile, 1983; Hennessey & Amabile, 1988). Some researchers even claimed that, under certain conditions, extrinsic motivation may have a negative impact on intrinsic motivation (Deci, 1971). More recent studies have not only negated some of the prior research about the negative impact of extrinsic motivation on creativity but, on the contrary, have found that, under certain circumstances, extrinsic motivation was positively related to creativity (Amabile, 1996; Collins & Amabile, 1999; Eisenberger & Cameron, 1996; Eisenberger & Rhoades, 2001; Mumford, Scott, Gaddis, & Strange, 2002; Nickerson, 1999). Basadur (1997) analyzed a Japanese firm that used a structural approach in order to motivate creative problem solving by way of monetary incentives, training, and careful alignment with organizational strategy. Monetary rewards were given for all ideas that could be practically applied, irrespective of whether the idea was small or large. The program was a huge success, with the firm receiving as many as 140 suggestions per person per year. Basadur pointed out that the program was successful because it was highly motivating. The fact that is noteworthy in this study is that the

Data were collected from 124 undergraduate students who were enrolled in one of the four sections of an introductory management course at a large southeastern university. The sample consisted of 58% men and approximately 98% were of junior or senior standing with an average age of 21.7 years (SD 1.7). Participation was voluntary and completely anonymous. Creative personality consists of both domain-specific traits and domain-general traits (Feist, 1999; Runco, 1990). Because our study focused on the domain-general trait, we chose this particular management course because it comprised students from varied curriculums. It included students majoring in marketing (15.32%), accounting (13.7%), finance (13.7%), business administration (12.1%), aviation management (7.26%), engineering (6.45%), building science (3.23%), information systems management (5.65%), and others (22.58), such as consumer affairs, entrepreneurship, HR management, logistics, criminology, history, economics, public relations, fishery, health administration, communication, biomedical science, pharmacy, and animal and dairy science. Measures Creativity. Creativity was measured using the What Kind of Person Are You? (WKOPAY) inventory, a 50item self-report checklist designed to assess individuals perception of their own behavior (Khatena & Torrence,



1976). The WKOPAY asked individuals to choose between two descriptors of personality, i.e., (a) I prefer tasks that challenge me; (b) I do work on time. The higher the total scores on WKOPAY, the greater an individuals characteristics or qualities associated with a creative personality. The total creativity score was calculated by summing up those items that were typically chosen by creative people, and it could range from 0 to 50. The WKOPAY inventory demonstrated adequate testretest reliabilities, ranging from .71 to .97. The manual for the WKOPAY instrument reported construct, content, and criterion-related validity. Content validity was supported by the findings of studies on the creative personality and on the judgments of experts; construct validity was determined in terms of attitude patterns, personality characteristics, and factor analysis; and criterion-related validity was determined by establishing relations with measures of creative thinking, personality inventories, biographical reports, and rating scales (see Khatena & Torrance, 1976, pp. 3557, for tables and extensive reporting of reliability, validity, and descriptive statistics). Khatena and Torrence (1976) reported spilthalf and testretest reliabilities for the WKOPAY ranging from .50 to .99. We found a rather modest reliability with Cronbachs alpha measuring .68. Openness to experience. Openness to experience was measured by using the subscale of the NEOFive Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI; Costa & McCrae, 1992) It contains 12 items that were summed to obtain an overall score for openness to experience. Respondents indicated the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with each of the items on a five-point scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Internal consistency (coefficient alpha) obtained in the current study was .77, in line with that reported in the NEO-FFI manual (Costa & McCrae, 1992). Self-efficacy. The Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale was used in this study for measuring self-efficacy. It is a 10-item psychometric scale that is designed to assess perceived self-efficacy. Each item refers to successful coping and implies an internal-stable attribution of success (Jerusalem & Schwarzer, 1992). General self-efficacy aims at a broad and stable sense of personal competence to deal effectively with a variety of stressful ~a, Sud, & Schwarzer, rrez-Don situations (Scholz, Gutie 2002). The scale had a strong reliability (Cronbachs alpha .83). Perseverance. A truly creative achievement is almost never the result of a sudden flash of insight, but comes after years of hard work (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996). As mentioned earlier, creativity requires individuals to

be perseverant, especially in the face of challenges that are a part and parcel of creative work (Shalley & Gilson, 2004). Whiteside and Lynam, (2001) stated that, Perseverance refers to an individuals ability to remain focused on a task that may be boring or difficult. Individuals low in (lack of) perseverance are able to complete projects and to work under conditions that require resistance to distracting stimuli (p. 685). Because this definition was appropriate for the present research we measured perseverance by using one of the four subscales of the UPPS Impulsive Behavior Scale (Whiteside & Lynam, 2001). The UPPS impulsivity scale is a 45-item inventory designed to measure four distinct personality pathways to impulsive behavior: Urgency, (lack of) Perseverance, (lack of) Premeditation, and Sensation Seeking. The pathway, (lack of) Perseverance, assesses an individuals ability to persist in completing jobs or obligations despite boredom and=or fatigue. Respondents indicated the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with each of the 10 items on a four-point scale. Because the scale measured lack of perseverance, the four-point scale was reverse coded with 4 (agree strongly) to 1 (disagree strongly) so that the sum of the responses measured perseverance and not the lack of it. Cronbachs alpha measured .81. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. The Work Preference Inventory was used to measure intrinsic and extrinsic motivation (Amabile, Hill, Hennessey, & Tighe, 1994). The intrinsic motivation scale includes 15 items that assess the degree to which respondents enjoy the challenge of the work at hand. Sample items are I enjoy tackling problems that are completely new to me and I enjoy trying to solve complex problems. Cronbachs alpha for the intrinsic scale was 0.71. Extrinsic motivation was also measured with a 15-item scale. This scale includes items such as I am strongly motivated by the grades I can earn and As long as I can do what I enjoy, Im not that concerned about exactly what grades or awards I can earn. Cronbachs alpha for the extrinsic scale was 0.65. Each item for both the intrinsic and extrinsic scale was followed by a four-point scale where 1 Never or almost never true of you, 2 Sometimes true of you, 3 Often true of you, and 4 Always or almost always true of you.

RESULTS Table 1 displays means, standard deviations, and correlations among all the variables. Correlations among the independent and mediator=moderator variables had a median value of .07 and a maximum value of .47, with

CREATIVITY, PERSONALITY, AND MOTIVATION TABLE 1 Descriptive Statistics and Zero-Order Correlations Among Variables Variables 1 2 3 4 5 6 Creativity Intrinsic motivation Extrinsic motivation Openness to experience Self-efficacy Perseverance Note. N 124. p < .05. p < .01. M 25.3 2.9 2.8 3.2 3.2 3.3 SD 5.6 .33 .32 .55 .37 .44 1 1 .39 .2 .35 .3 .07 2 1 .11 .33 .45 .28 3 4 5


1 .18 .03 .12

1 .12 .03

1 .47

a maximum variance-inflation factor less than 2; hence, multicollinearity was not a severe problem that would preclude interpretation of the regression analyses (Neter, Wasserman, & Kutner, 1983). Creativity was significantly and positively related to self-efficacy (r .30, p .001). This suggested complete support for Hypothesis 1, which was further tested by regressing creativity on self-efficacy (R2 .09, p .001). However, Hypothesis 2, which predicted a positive relation between creativity and perseverance, was not supported, as perseverance was not correlated to creativity. This was further confirmed by regressing creativity on perseverance (R2 .005, ns). As expected, intrinsic motivation (r .39, p .00) and openness to experience (r .35, p .00) were both significantly and positively correlated to creativity. Intrinsic motivation was also significantly related to all three personality traits (openness to experience, r .33, p .00; self-efficacy, r .45, p .00; perseverance, r .28, p .002). In addition, extrinsic motivation exhibited a negative association with creativity (r .20, p .023). To test for mediation, R. M. Barron and Kenny (1986) suggested a three-step procedure: (a) the mediator was regressed on the independent variable, (b) the dependent variable was regressed on the independent variable, and finally, (c) the dependent variable was regressed on both the independent variable and on the mediator. However, to test for complete mediation, the independent variable needs to be controlled in the third step. Hence, a simple regression was performed for step one, but for steps two and three a hierarchical linear regression was employed. A formal test of the significance of mediation was provided by the Sobel test (Sobel, 1982; see MacKinnon, Warsi, & Dwyer, 1995). For testing Hypothesis 3, which suggested that intrinsic motivation mediated the relationship between openness and creativity, we first regressed intrinsic motivation on openness. This was followed by a twostep hierarchical linear regression (see Table 2). In step one, creativity was regressed on openness to experience, followed by step two wherein openness was controlled and intrinsic motivation was introduced. Finally we cal-

culated the Sobels test (Preacher & Leonardelli, 2001). Formula for the test was drawn from MacKinnon, Warsi, and Dwyer (1995). The same procedure was repeated for testing the mediating role of intrinsic motivation between creativity and self-efficacy as mentioned in hypothesis 4. Table 3 summarizes the results of the regression analyses. The results supported hypotheses 3 and 4. As shown in Table 2, the regression coefficient for intrinsic motivation was significant in contributing to creativity when openness to experience was controlled, indicating the mediating role of intrinsic motivation (b .31, p .001; R2D .08, p .001). The significance of openness to experience decreased in step 2, which signified that intrinsic motivation partially mediated the relationship between creativity and openness to experience. The Sobel test revealed significant evidence of partial mediation by intrinsic motivation, z 2.28, p .02. Table 3 shows a significant regression coefficient for intrinsic motivation, which contributed to creativity when self-efficacy was controlled; this again indicated the mediating role of intrinsic motivation (b .32,

TABLE 2 Summary of Regression Analyses Predicting the Mediating Role of Intrinsic Motivation in the Relation between Creativity and Openness to Experience Sobel Test Regression 1

D R2 .11

Openness to experience Regression 2b Step 1 Openness to experience Step 2 Openness to experience Intrinsic motivation

.33 .12 .35 .08 .25 .31 2.28 .02

Note. N 124. a Dependent variable is Intrinsic Motivation. b Dependent variable is Creativity. p < .01. p < .001.



TABLE 3 Summary of Regression Analyses Predicting the Mediating Role of Intrinsic Motivation in the Relation Between Creativity and Self-Efficacy Sobel Test b Regression 1

DR .19

Self-efficacy Regression 2b Step 1 Self-efficacy Step 2 Self-efficacy Intrinsic motivation

.45 .09 .30 .08 .16 .32 2.89 .003

Note. N 124. a Dependent variable is intrinsic motivation. b Dependent variable is creativity. p < .01. p < .001.

FIGURE 3 Creativity predicted by the two-way interaction between self-efficacy and extrinsic motivation.

p .001; R2D .08, p .001). Self-efficacy was statistically insignificant in step 2, which suggested that intrinsic motivation completely mediated the relationship between creativity and self-efficacy. The Sobel test (1982) revealed significant evidence of complete mediation by intrinsic motivation, z 2.89, p .003. Intrinsic motivation was also significantly and positively related to perseverance. However, perseverance was not significantly related to creativity. Thus, Hypothesis 5, which suggested the mediating role of intrinsic motivation between perseverance and creativity, was not supported. To test Hypotheses 68, related to the moderating role of extrinsic motivation, we carried out moderated regression analyses. We found support for the moderating role of extrinsic motivation in self-efficacy and perseverance but not in openness to experience. Table 4 shows that the regression coefficient for the interaction term between self-efficacy and extrinsic motivation was significant, thereby confirming the

TABLE 4 Summary of Hierarchical Regression Analyses Predicting the Moderating Role of Extrinsic Motivation in the Relation Between Creativity and Self-Efficacy b Step 1 Self-efficacy Extrinsic motivation Step 2 Self-efficacy Extrinsic motivation Self-efficacy Extrinsic motivation Note. N 124. p < .01. p < .001. 4.66 3.76 .07 3.70 4.01 11.21 D R2 .14

moderating role of extrinsic motivation between creativity and self-efficacy. As seen in Figure 3, a two-way interaction was observed between self-efficacy and extrinsic motivation. Table 5 indicates that the slopes for extrinsic motivation are significant at low and mean levels, thereby suggesting that self-efficacy interacted with extrinsic motivation such that the positive relationship between creativity and self-efficacy was significant at low and mean levels of extrinsic motivation, but not at high levels of extrinsic motivation. Table 6 shows that the regression coefficient for the interaction term between perseverance and extrinsic motivation is significant, thereby confirming the moderating role of extrinsic motivation between creativity and perseverance. Note that in the absence of the interaction term, there is no significant relationship between perseverance and creativity. This suggests that extrinsic motivation completely moderates this relationship. As seen in Figure 4, a two-way interaction was observed between perseverance and extrinsic motivation. Table 7 indicates that the slope for extrinsic motivation is significant only at the high level, thereby suggesting that perseverance interacted with extrinsic motivation such that in the presence of high levels of extrinsic
TABLE 5 Regression Slopes Depicting the Association Between Creativity and Self-Efficacy at Different Levels of Extrinsic Motivation Interaction Self-efficacy Extrinsic motivation Low Mean High Note. N 124. p < .01. p < .001. Slopes 7.28 3.70 .12 SE 1.47 1.27 1.86 t 4.96 2.93 .06

CREATIVITY, PERSONALITY, AND MOTIVATION TABLE 6 Summary of Hierarchical Regression Analyses Predicting the Moderating Role of Extrinsic Motivation in the Relation Between Creativity and Perseverance b Step 1 Perseverance Extrinsic motivation Step 2 Perseverance Extrinsic motivation Perseverance Extrinsic motivation Note. N 124. p < .05. p < .01. .56 3.48 .05 .48 3.76 8.51 D R2 .04


TABLE 7 Regression Slopes Depicting the Association Between Creativity and Perseverance at Different Levels of Extrinsic Motivation Interaction Perseverance Extrinsic motivation Low Mean High Note. N 124. p < .05. Slopes 2.23 .48 3.19 SE 1.57 1.13 1.53 T 1.42 .42 2.09

motivation there is a negative relationship between creativity and perseverance, but not at low or mean levels of extrinsic motivation.

DISCUSSION Creativity is indispensable for progress in any given field. Imagine life without novelty and originality, which form the basis of creativity (Amabile, 1983). The present study adds to the creativity literature in several ways. First it empirically tested the influence of three personality traits (openness to experience, self-efficacy, and perseverance) on creativity. As anticipated, creativity was closely related to openness to experience and selfefficacy. Although earlier research had suggested that perseverance is one of the important traits of a creative individual (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996), the results revealed no empirical support for such a relationship. Second, and more importantly, the potential mediating role of intrinsic motivation was empirically tested. Intrinsic motivation partially mediated the relationship

between creativity and openness to experience and completely mediated the relationship between creativity and self-efficacy. Finally, we tested the moderating role of extrinsic motivation and found that it completely moderated the relationship between creativity and perseverance. It is interesting to note that at low and mean levels of extrinsic motivation, perseverance was not related to creativity, but at high levels of extrinsic motivation, perseverance had a negative association with creativity. Additionally, extrinsic motivation partially moderated the relationship between self-efficacy and creativity. Limitations and Future Research Intrinsic motivation has been considered as the key ingredient in creativity (Amabile, 1988). It is now also well-documented that extrinsic motivation has an incremental effect on creativity (Eisenberger & Rhoades, 2001). However, we found that extrinsic motivation undermined creativity. One of the reasons could be the lack of a field setting. Oldham and Cummings (1996) stated, Unfortunately little is known about the conditions that promote the creative performance of individual employees in organizations (p. 607). Similarly Amabile (1993) pointed out that, in the real world, things are not that simple and found that, indeed, many of the extrinsic motivators did appear to undermine creativity in settings such as a research and development laboratory (Amabile & Gryskiewicz, 1989), which may not hold true in a field experiment. Also, as Choi (2004) pointed out, Extrinsic motivation per se may neither increase nor decrease creativity. Instead people with high extrinsic motivation may display high creative performance when reward criteria involve creativity, whereas the same people may stick to conventional approaches when the situation signals that efficiency, rather than creativity, will be rewarded (p. 196). Neither of these conditions were present in this study setting, as participation in this study was voluntary. For future research, this same study could be replicated in an organizational setting. We also did not find a positive relation between perseverance and creativity. In fact, in the presence of high

FIGURE 4 Creativity predicted by the two-way interaction between Perseverance and extrinsic motivation.



levels of extrinsic motivation, perseverance was found to be negatively associated with creativity. However, given the theoretical importance of perseverance in creativity, it is plausible that it may be related to creativity in a different form of relationship, i.e., a curvilinear relationship such that moderate levels of perseverance lead to creativity, but lower or higher levels of perseverance would not have the same impact on creativity. It is important for a creative person to know when it is time to give up an idea that is not resulting in anything and accept that the idea was flawed. A similar relationship was suggested by Lubart and Sternberg (1995), i.e., an inverted-U shaped relationship between motivation and creativity emanating from the fact that when a person exhibits very high level of motivation, he or she may become too focused on the goal, losing sight on the creative work itself. It also seems possible that perseverance and intrinsic motivation may have a two-way relationship. People who are intrinsically motivated are found to be more persevering and flexible (McGraw & Fiala, 1982) as they are motivated because of the challenge and pleasure of the work itself, which in turn leads to creativity (Hennessey & Amabile, 1998). But when they are faced with obstacles and constant failures, it will be their perseverance that will sail them through the difficult patch. It will be interesting to further test such a relationship. One of the major limitations of this study is that all measures are self-reported. However, self-report questionnaires and performance-based evaluations have been two of the main assessment methods used for measuring creativity (Lubart & Guignard, 2004). Plucker (1998) pointed out that performance-based evaluations provided results favoring a domain-specific view of creative behaviors, while the use of self-report questionnaires directed to a more general-oriented notion of creativity. Additionally, Hocevar (1981) noted that self-report questionnaires were not only one of the most commonly used tools in creative personality, but also claimed that such self-report scales were perhaps the most easily defensible way to identify creative talent (p. 455). Kaufman and Baer (2004) argued that, Selfassessments offer a window into the ways that people conceptualize creativity (p. 9). In spite of all this evidence in favor of self-report questionnaires in creativity, one cannot ignore the inherent limitations of self-report data, such as poor recall, both intentional and unintentional distortions by participants, and potential validity issues (Azar, 1997; Rowe, 1997; Schwarz, 1999). Another limitation was related to common method variance, as the data were collected from a single source. Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Lee, and Podsakoff (2003) mentioned that one of the most common variables assumed to cause common method variance is the tendency for

participants to respond in a socially desirable manner. They argued that respondents may have less evaluation apprehension and, therefore, are less likely to edit their responses to be more socially desirable when anonymity is assured. In the present study, the responses were completely anonymous, thereby protecting the respondents identity. Although this does not completely eradicate the problem of common method bias, it does alleviate it. Also, common method variance was not a significant threat while testing moderating effects relating to extrinsic motivation. Brockner, Siegel, Daly, Tyler, and Martin (1997) noted that if common method variance explains significant relationships, there is no rationale why there should be a significant relationship at one level, but not on another. External validity could be low, given that the respondent sample was undergraduate students, thereby narrowing the scope of generalizablility of this study. Finally, the creativity measure had disappointingly low reliability (b) .68 in this study, suggesting that an alternative measure should be used in future research. Following are some ideas for future research into the elusive construct of creativity. Several longitudinal studies have found that the distinguishing traits of creative people do not change considerably over time (Camp, 1994; Dudek & Hall, 1991; Helson, Roberts, & Agronick, 1995). However, it would still be interesting to observe if the present results would differ in a longitudinal study, especially if carried out in an organizational setting. The creativity literature suggests that an individuals background characteristics affect his or her cognitive and noncognitive behavior (Ai, 1999), with gender being one of the most important characteristics in educational and psychological literature (Fennema & Carpenter, 1998). Psychologists still have a long way to go before they come anywhere close to understanding creativity in women and minorities (Helson, 1990). It would be interesting to test the role of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in creativity across gender. Another interesting future study would be to replicate this study using teams. Additionally, the mediational model of intrinsic motivation could be extended to include the antecedents of the personality traits, especially for self-efficacy and perseverance. Finally, a natural extension of this study would be to expand the dispositions studied to determine whether they add incremental variance beyond those included in the present study. Given the importance of creativity, it is becoming a topic of ever-increasing interest to managers. In todays competitive world, the only thing that is constant is change. A product that may be a huge success today could be extinct tomorrow. In the backdrop of such fierce competition, new ideas and new products have become a necessity, rather than a luxury. To be



competitive in the global market, organizations must develop creative and high quality products and services. However, creativity is an elusive construct, as it is tautological to mention that a person produces creative outcomes because he or she is a creative person working in a creativity-prone environment, leaving the black-box unopened (Choi, 2004, p. 187). It would be very beneficial for managers to gain some insight into this black-box. In the present study, we found certain individual and contextual factors that contribute to creativity; this could prove to be very informative to managers as they bear practical implications with respect to tapping into their employees creative potential and encouraging creativity in the workplace (Scott & Bruce, 1994). Empirical evidence was provided not only for the positive impact of intrinsic motivation on creativity, but also on its mediating role in the relationship between creativity and the personality traits self-efficacy (complete mediation) and openness to experience (partial mediation). Managers should, therefore, concentrate on building a climate that enhances self-efficacy and use techniques toward the goal of changing employees self-concept. This may enable them to hit two birds with one stone, because self-efficacy will not only increase creativity but will aid in increasing an employees intrinsic motivation, which in turn further increases creativity. Use of certain training methods should be considered, as training has been found to enhance self-efficacy (see Frayne & Latham, 1987; Gist, Schwoerer, & Rosen, 1989). A cautionary note is due to managers about their use of extrinsic motivators. If their sole aim is to increase an employees creativity, then they should be very careful using extrinsic motivators because, although we found that extrinsic motivation reduces creativity, the exact role played by extrinsic motivators in creativity still eludes us. In fact, in the presence of high extrinsic motivation there is a negative association between perseverance and creativity. The words of Nickerson (1999) seem very appropriate with respect to the use of extrinsic and intrinsic motivators:
The question of exactly how external motivators should be used is a continuing challenge for research. I know of no one who claims they should never be used, but many urge caution in their use, noting that they can, if used injudiciously, become de-motivating in the long run. . . . External motivators should be used in such a way as to encourage the expression of natural abilities and to reinforce internal motivation, to the extent that it exists. (p. 413)

intrinsic motivation plays in the relationship between creativity and the three personality traits, and, finally, (c) the role of extrinsic motivation in creativity, thus helping to gain more insight into creativitya relatively complex construct.

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Overall, this study provides a clearer and more comprehensive picture of (a) the relationship between creativity and the three personality traits (openness to experience, self-efficacy and perseverance), (b) the role


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