From prevention focus to adaptivity and creativity: the role of unfulfilled goals and work engagement

Paraskevas Petrou, Matthijs Baas, Marieke Roskes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Whereas promotion focus is consistently linked to high adaptivity (i.e., adjustment to changes) and creativity (i.e., generation of useful and original ideas), prevention focus is commonly associated with low adaptivity and creativity. The present study uncovers the conditions under which prevention focus may also have positive effects on adaptivity and creativity. First, we hypothesize that trait-level promotion focus positively relates to day-level adaptivity as well as creativity. More importantly, we hypothesize that trait-level prevention focus positively relates to day-level adaptivity and creativity when day-level goal fulfilment is low (i.e., two-way interactions) and that these effects are stronger when day-level work engagement is high (i.e., three-way interactions). To test our hypotheses, we conducted a daily diary survey among 209 employees from different occupational sectors, over five working days. As expected, trait promotion focus was positively related to adaptivity and creativity. Furthermore, trait prevention focus positively related to both adaptivity and creativity when day-level goal fulfilment was low andday-level work engagement was high (3-way interactions). None of the two-way interaction effects of trait prevention focus and goal fulfilment was significant. Our findings suggest that prevention focus and unfulfilled goals jointly should not only be seen as threats, but also as opportunities for adaptation and creativity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-48
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Volume29
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Regulatory focus
  • adaptivity
  • creativity
  • goal fulfilment
  • work engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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