Constraints that help or hinder creative performance: A motivational approach

Marieke Roskes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Threatening situations, in which people fear negative outcomes or failure, evoke avoidance motivation. Avoidance motivation, in turn, evokes a focused, systematic and effortful way of information processing that has often been linked to reduced creativity. This harmful effect of avoidance motivation on creativity can be problematic in financially turbulent times when people fear for their jobs and financial security. However, particularly in such threatening times, creativity may be crucial to innovate, adapt to changing demands and stay ahead of competitors. Here, I propose a theoretical framework describing how different types of constraints in the workplace affect creative performance under approach and avoidance motivation. Specifically, under avoidance motivation, constraints that consume or occupy cognitive resources should undermine creativity, but constraints that channel cognitive resources should facilitate creativity. Understanding the impact of different types of constraints on creative performance is needed to develop strategies for maximizing creativity in the workplace.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-206
Number of pages10
JournalCreativity and Innovation Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015


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