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How a loving home plays a role in creativity at work

13 January 2022
Jakob Stollberger - Associate Professor in Organizational Behavior - studied how work-family support received from coworkers at work can be passed on and shared with partners at home. He concludes that the more spouses love their partners, the more resources they share with them at home, enabling their partners to be more creative at work.

Sharing is caring, according to Stollberger. The more support obtained from work is shared at home, the more creative partners will be at work. His research highlights that work-related creativity is influenced by factors located both at work (such as work-family support from colleagues) and at home (compassionate love for one's partner). Work-family support at work is specifically focused on resolving work-family issues, either at work when coworkers are concerned or at home with partners. This support can take many forms, such as emotional support like talking through stressful work-family experiences or instrumental support like coworkers covering for colleagues that need to go home to care for an ill child. And the more compassionate the love at home is, the more this work-family support will be shared, Stollberger emphasises.

Creativity as the seed for innovation is crucial for organizations to maintain a competitive advantage in the knowledge economy. Stollberger's research highlights that work-related creativity can not only be thought of as something that is exclusively fostered at work but that, in part, also depends on a loving and supportive home environment. Targeted work-family initiatives will therefore become increasingly necessary. Organizations are well-advised to invest in organizational work-family support initiatives not only to support employees' work-life balance but also to promote their workforce's creativity.

Dual-earner couples make up most households in high-income countries, which means that a large proportion of employees in organizations will have a dual-earner setup. Although much research has highlighted the darker sides of a dual-earner situation in terms of higher workload and more stress, comparatively little research has investigated possible bright sides, such as whether such a contemporary setup can be leveraged to promote creativity at work.

Stollberger’s paper entitled “Sharing is caring: The role of compassionate love for sharing coworker work–family support at home to promote partners’ creativity at work”, which was recently published in Journal of Applied Psychology can be read in full here.