Investigação • 05 jul 2017
'An act of creativity a day, keeps the doctor away'

Creativity at work can positively affect the well-being of workers. According to Susana M. Tavares, a researcher at ISCTE-IUL's Business Research Unit, creative behaviour at work generate positive emotions because they are a way of giving sense and meaning to what people do.

Her research on creativity at work has given rise to an article, published in the special issue of the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, which complements previous studies that stated that positive emotions generated creative behaviour.

In order to analyse whether creativity also has a positive impact on the workers in the workplace, the researcher carried out two studies in her research using questionnaires.

In the first study, with a sample of 170 workers, supervisors reported on their creativity at work. The questionnaires presented questions to measure creativity at work, "this worker talks to the supervisor to try to do things better in the organization", "this worker gives suggestions about what he thinks is a problem in this organization" or "This worker contributes with new ideas to improve the functioning of the organization". To measure positive emotions at work, the researcher asked workers to rate how many times over the past month, working in the organization made them feel "joy", "enthusiasm" and "optimism"; the answers were given on a scale of 7 points, (1) never and (7) always.

With the second study, done with teachers (223), the intention was to extend the conclusions of the previous study and understand what drives the affective benefits of creativity in work. The researcher proposes that people, when they act creatively in their workplace, attach more meaning to their own work. Thus, it is concluded that creativity is not only a dimension of the worker's performance, that helps her/him to be more successful or innovative in the work, or a strategy that helps her/him to deal with problematic or ambiguous situations at work, but an activity of assigning meaning to what the worker does and that positively influences the work. This approach is more people-centred and less focused on the direct benefits to organizations.

The results of the study suggest that creativity is not only beneficial to organizations as a way to increase their ability to innovate and their effectiveness but also has positive consequences for individuals who engage in creative behaviour. This is important because behaviour that is beneficial to organizations may not be for employees. Organizational managers should create working conditions that encourage creativity in the workplace as a way for employees to attach meaning to the work they do.


Link to complete information:


Researcher's contact Susana Tavares (Email:

Text: Andreia Garcia (BRU-IUL)

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