Research Insights

Romance at home, creativity at work

By Prof. Xu Huang

In China, it’s still who you know

There are many ways for firms to improve employee creativity, such as enhancing their expertise and knowledge, stimulating their divergent and flexible thinking, inspiring motivation, broadening their social networks in organizations and so forth. In this research, we turned our focus to how employees’ experience at home influences their creativity at work. Especially, we investigate the impact of employees’ marriage experience on their work-related creativity. Based on data collected from 548 couples in China, we discovered that when employees are highly satisfied with their marriages, they are more likely to accumulate more “psychological resources”, which can energise them to engage in creative tasks at work that requires extra efforts and energy. Also, employees’ spouses play an important role in shaping the employees’ creativity. Employees will exhibit the highest level of creativity at work, when their spouse and they themselves both experience a high level of marital satisfaction. If their spouse is not happy with the marriage, even though they experience high marital satisfaction, they may not have sufficient “psychological resources” to engage in creative activities at work, perhaps, because they need to consume energy to deal with their “unhappy” spouse at home.


Tang, Y.P., Huang, X., & Wang, Y. L. (2017). Good marriage at home, creativity at work: Family-work enrichment effect on workplace creativity. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 38(5), 749-766