Journal of Business and Psychology

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 377–388 | Cite as

The Curvilinear Relationship between Self-efficacy and Creativity: The Moderating Role of Supervisor Close Monitoring

  • Jihye Lee
  • Seokhwa Yun
  • Soojin LeeEmail author
  • Jung hyun Lee
Original Paper


The assumption that self-efficacy always has a positive linear relation with job performance has been challenged both conceptually and empirically. Recent research suggests that excessive self-efficacy may negatively affect employees’ work outcomes. We propose a curvilinear association between employees’ self-efficacy and creativity. Further, we examine the moderating effect of supervisor close monitoring on the aforementioned relationship. Using a sample of 188 subordinate–supervisor dyads from South Korea, we find evidence of an inverted U-shaped relationship between self-efficacy and creativity that is moderated by supervisor close monitoring. Implications for both theory and practice are presented.


Self-efficacy Curvilinear relationship Supervisor close monitoring Creativity 


  1. Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  2. Amabile, T. M. (1983). The social psychology of creativity. New York: Springer-Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Amabile, T. M. (1988). A model of creativity and innovation in organizations. In B. M. Staw & L. L. Cummings (Eds.), Research in Organizational Behavior, 10 (Vol. 10, pp. 123–167). Greenwich: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  4. Amabile, T. M. (1996). Creativity in context. Boulder: Westview press.Google Scholar
  5. Amabile, T. M., Conti, R., Coon, H., Lazenby, J., & Herron, M. (1996). Assessing the work environment for creativity. Academy of Management Journal, 39, 1154–1184.Google Scholar
  6. Anderson, N., De Dreu, C. K. W., & Nijstad, B. A. (2004). The routinization of innovation research: A constructively critical review of the state-of-the-science. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 25, 147–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Baas, M., De Dreu, C. K., & Nijstad, B. A. (2008). A meta-analysis of 25 years of mood-creativity research: Hedonic tone, activation, or regulatory focus? Psychological Bulletin, 134, 779–806.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognition theory. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  10. Bandura, A. (1991). Social cognitive theory of self-regulation. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50(2), 248–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman.Google Scholar
  12. Bandura, A., & Locke, E. A. (2003). Negative self-efficacy and goal effects revisited. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88, 87–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Barron, F., & Harrington, D. M. (1981). Creativity, intelligence, and personality. Annual Review of Psychology, 32, 439–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Beck, J. W., & Schmidt, A. M. (2012). Taken out of context? Cross-level effects of between-person self-efficacy and difficulty on the within-person relationship of self-efficacy with resource allocation and performance. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 119, 195–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Bentler, P. M. (1990). Comparative fit indexes in structural models. Psychological Bulletin, 107, 238–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Bolino, M. C., Klotz, A. C., Turnley, W. H., & Harvey, J. (2013). Exploring the dark side of organizational citizenship behavior. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 34, 542–559.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Brislin, R. W. (1980). Translation and content analysis of oral and written material. In H. C. Triandis & J. W. Berry (Eds.), Handbook of cross-cultural psychology: Vol. 2. Methodology (pp. 380–444). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  18. Brockner, J. (1988). Self-esteem at work: Research, theory, and practice. Lexington: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  19. Browne, M. W., & Cudeck, R. (1993). Alternative ways of assessing model fit. In K. A. Bollen & J. S. Long (Eds.), Testing structural equation models (pp. 445–455). Newbury Park: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  20. Byron, K., Khazanchi, S., & Nazarian, D. (2010). The relationship between stressors and creativity: A meta-analysis examining competing theoretical models. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95, 201–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Cervone, D., Jiwani, N., & Wood, R. (1991). Goal setting and the differential influence of self-regulatory processes on complex decision-making performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 257–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Chen, G., Gully, S. M., Whiteman, J. A., & Kilcullen, R. N. (2000). Examination of relationships among trait-like individual differences, state-like individual differences, and learning performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85, 835–847.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Chen, G., Gully, S. M., & Eden, D. (2001). Validation of a new general self-efficacy scale. Organizational Research Methods, 4, 62–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Choi, J. N. (2007). Group composition and employee creative behavior in a Korean electronics company: Distinct effects of relational demography and group diversity. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 80, 213–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Cohen, J., & Cohen, P. (1983). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  26. Colquitt, J. A., LePine, J. A., & Noe, R. A. (2000). Toward an integrative theory of training motivation: A meta-analytic path analysis of 20 years of research. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85, 678–707.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York: Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Deci, E. L., Connell, J. P., & Ryan, R. M. (1989). Self-determination in a work organization. Journal of Applied Psychology, 74, 580–590.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ford, C. M. (1996). A theory of individual creative action in multiple social domains. Academy of Management Review, 21, 1112–1142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Fu, F. Q., Richards, K. A., Hughes, D. E., & Jones, E. (2010). Motivating salespeople to sell new products: The relative influence of attitudes, subjective norms, and self-efficacy. Journal of Marketing, 74, 61–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Gagné, M., & Deci, E. L. (2005). Self-determination theory and work motivation. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 26, 331–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. George, J. M., & Zhou, J. (2001). When openness to experience and conscientiousness are related to creative behavior: An interactional approach. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86, 513–524.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Gist, M. E., & Mitchell, T. R. (1992). Self-efficacy: A theoretical analysis of it determinants and malleability. Academy of Management Review, 17, 183–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Grant, A. M., & Schwartz, B. (2011). Too much of a good thing the challenge and opportunity of the inverted U. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6, 61–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Higgins, E. T. (2000). Making a good decision: Value from fit. American Psychologist, 55, 1217–1230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Janssen, O. (2004). How fairness perceptions make innovative behavior more or less stressful. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 25, 201–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Judge, T. A., Erez, A., & Bono, J. E. (1998). The power of being positive: The relation between positive self-concept and job performance. Human Performance, 11, 167–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Judge, T. A., Jackson, C. L., Shaw, J. C., Scott, B. A., & Rich, B. L. (2007). Self-efficacy and work-related performance: The integral role of individual differences. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92, 107–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kanfer, R., & Ackerman, P. L. (2004). Aging, adult development, and work motivation. Academy of Management Review, 29, 440–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Khazanchi, S., & Masterson, S. S. (2011). Who and what is fair matters: A multi-foci social exchange model of creativity. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 32, 86–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Le, H., Oh, I. S., Robbins, S. B., Ilies, R., Holland, E., & Westrick, P. (2011). Too much of a good thing: Curvilinear relationships between personality traits and job performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 96, 113–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Lee, S., Cheong, M., Kim, M., & Yun, S. (2017). Never too much? The curvilinear relationship between empowering leadership and task performance. Group & Organization Management, 42, 11–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lenox, R. A., & Subich, L. M. (1994). The relationship between self-efficacy beliefs and inventoried vocational interests. The Career Development Quarterly, 42, 302–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Lent, R. W., Larkin, K. C., & Brown, S. D. (1989). Relation of self-efficacy to inventoried vocational interests. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 34, 279–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Liao, E. Y., & Chun, H. (2016). Supervisor monitoring and subordinate innovation. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 37, 168–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Liao, H., Liu, D., & Loi, R. (2010). Looking at both sides of the social exchange coin: A social cognitive perspective on the joint effects of relationship quality and differentiation on creativity. Academy of Management Journal, 53, 1090–1109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Nickerson, R. S. (1999). Enhancing creativity. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Handbook of creativity (pp. 392–430). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  48. Niehoff, B. P., & Moorman, R. H. (1993). Justice as a mediator of the relationship between methods of monitoring and organizational citizenship behavior. Academy of Management Journal, 36, 527–556.Google Scholar
  49. Oh, I. S., & Berry, C. M. (2009). The five-factor model of personality and managerial performance: Validity gains through the use of 360 degree performance ratings. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94, 1498–1513.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Oldham, G. R., & Cummings, A. (1996). Employee creativity: Personal and contextual factors at work. Academy of Management Journal, 39, 607–634.Google Scholar
  51. Pajares, F. (1996). Self-efficacy beliefs in academic settings. Review of Educational Research, 66, 543–578.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Pierce, J. R., & Aguinis, H. (2013). The too-much-of-a-good-thing effect in management. Journal of Management, 39, 313–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., Lee, J.-Y., & Podsakoff, N. P. (2003). Common method biases in behavioral research: A critical review of the literature and recommended remedies. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88, 879–903.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Powers, W. T. (1991). Commentary on Bandura’s “human agency.”. American Psychologist, 46, 151–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Rapp, T. L., Bachrach, D. G., Rapp, A. A., & Mullins, R. (2014). The role of team goal monitoring in the curvilinear relationship between team efficacy and team performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 99, 976–987.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Raub, S., & Liao, H. (2012). Doing the right thing without being told: Joint effects of initiative climate and general self-efficacy on employee proactive customer service performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 97, 651–667.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Redmond, M. R., Mumford, M. D., & Teach, R. (1993). Putting creativity to work: Effects of leader behavior on subordinate creativity. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 55, 120–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Saks, A. M., & Ashforth, B. E. (2000). The role of dispositions, entry stressors, and behavioral plasticity theory in predicting newcomers' adjustment to work. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 21, 43–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Schmidt, A. M., & DeShon, R. P. (2010). The moderating effects of performance ambiguity on the relationship between self-efficacy and performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95, 572–581.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Schunk, D. H. (1990). Goal setting and self-efficacy during self-regulated learning. Educational Psychologist, 25, 71–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Scott, S. G., & Bruce, R. A. (1994). Determinants of innovative behavior: A path model of individual innovation in the workplace. Academy of Management Journal, 37, 580–607.Google Scholar
  62. Shalley, C. E., & Gilson, L. L. (2004). What leaders need to know: A review of social and contextual factors that can foster or hinder creativity. The Leadership Quarterly, 15, 33–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Shalley, C. E., & Zhou, J. (2008). Handbook of organizational creativity (pp. 3–31). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  64. Shalley, C. E., Zhou, J., & Oldham, G. R. (2004). The effects of personal and contextual characteristics on creativity: Where should we go from here? Journal of Management, 30, 933–958.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Shanock, L. R., & Eisenberger, R. (2006). When supervisors feel supported: Relationships with subordinates' perceived supervisor support, perceived organizational support, and performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91, 689–695.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Silvia, P. (2008). Interest: The curious emotion. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17, 57–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Speier, C., & Frese, M. I. (1997). Generalized self efficacy as a mediator and moderator between control and complexity at work and personal initiative: A longitudinal field study in East Germany. Human Performance, 10, 171–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Stajkovic, A. D., & Luthans, F. (1998). Self-efficacy and work-related performance: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 240–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Tasa, K., & Whyte, G. (2005). Collective efficacy and vigilant problem solving in group decision making: A non-linear model. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 96, 119–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Tett, R. P., & Burnett, D. D. (2003). A personality trait-based interactionist model of job performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88, 500–517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Tett, R. P., Simonet, D. V., Walser, B., & Brown, C. (2013). Trait activation theory: Applications, developments, and implications for person-workplace fit. In N. D. Christiansen & R. P. Tett (Eds.), Handbook of personality at work (pp. 71–100). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  72. Thau, S., Aquino, K., & Poortvliet, P. M. (2007). Self-defeating behaviors in organizations: The relationship between thwarted belonging and interpersonal work behaviors. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92, 840–847.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Tierney, P., & Farmer, S. M. (2002). Creative self-efficacy: Potential antecedents and relationship to creative performance. Academy of Management Journal, 45, 1137–1148.Google Scholar
  74. Vancouver, J. B., & Kendall, L. (2006). When self-efficacy negatively relates to motivation and performance in a learning context. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91, 1146–1153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Vancouver, J. B., Thompson, C. M., & Williams, A. A. (2001). The changing signs in the relationships among self-efficacy, personal goals, and performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86, 605–620.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Vancouver, J. B., Thompson, C. M., Tischner, E. C., & Putka, D. J. (2002). Two studies examining the negative effects of self-efficacy on performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87, 506–516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Vancouver, J. B., More, K. M., & Yoder, R. J. (2008). Self-efficacy and resource allocation: Support for a nonmonotonic, discontinuous model. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93, 35–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Wood, R., & Bandura, A. (1989). Impact of conceptions of ability on self-regulatory mechanisms and complex decision making. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56, 407–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Woodman, R. W., & Schoenfeldt, L. F. (1989). Individual differences in creativity: An interactionist perspective. In J. Glover, R. Ronning, & C. Reynolds (Eds.), Handbook of creativity: Assessment, research, and theory. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  80. Woodman, R. W., & Schoenfeldt, L. F. (1990). An interactionist model of creative behavior. Journal of Creative Behavior, 24, 10–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Yeo, G. B., & Neal, A. (2006). An examination of the dynamic relationship between self-efficacy and performance across levels of analysis and levels of specificity. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91, 1088–1101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Zhou, J. (2003). When the presence of creative coworkers is related to creativity: Role of supervisor close monitoring, developmental feedback, and creative personality. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88, 413–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jihye Lee
    • 1
  • Seokhwa Yun
    • 1
  • Soojin Lee
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jung hyun Lee
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Business AdministrationSeoul National UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  2. 2.College of Business AdministrationChonnam National UniversityGwangjuSouth Korea

Personalised recommendations