Better to give than to receive (or seek) help? The interpersonal dynamics of maintaining a reputation for creativity

Joel B. Carnevale, Lei Huang, Lynne C. Vincent, Steven Farmer, Lin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Prior research suggests that the broader social environment in which employees develop, refine, and share their ideas is crucial in promoting creativity. But employees might not always be willing to interact with their coworkers in ways conducive to the development of creative outcomes, particularly if they become overly concerned about establishing and preserving others’ perceptions of their creative ability. Using both field and experimental studies, we integrate the impression management framework and the creativity-relevant helping literatures to investigate the psychological pressures and calculative interpersonal behaviors that stem from employees’ engagement in creative work. Results across three studies provide converging evidence that, due to the arousal of creative reputation maintenance concerns (CRMC), creative individuals (relative to their less creative counterparts) engage in less creativity help-seeking and more creativity help-giving, and these effects are strengthened when individuals have previously received help from others. We discuss the implications and limitations of this work and provide future research directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-156
Number of pages13
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Creative reputation maintenance concerns
  • Employee creativity
  • Helping behavior
  • Impression management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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