Small bodies, big ears and minds: How childhood experiences impact work and creativity



Increasingly scholars are recognizing what happens in childhood impacts work.  We advance this literature showing how parental work experiences and behaviour have long lasting effects on own their adult children’s creativity and success at work.  In the first study we examine how fathers’ work-family conflict diminishes their vitality especially when fathers are socially isolated. In turn, less vital and more depleted fathers signal the challenging nature of their work, decreasing their off-springs’ hope of success and ultimately their earnings as adults. Longitudinal data comprising 592 father-child dyads spanning 17 years supported our full model. In the second series of studies we ask do perfectionist parents and leaders help or hinder individual creativity? We find rather than benefitting their off-spring perfectionistic parents promote a fear of failure, which undermines employee creativity later in life. When supervisors at work repeat and reinforce these early life experiences, this negative mechanism is strengthened. Hypotheses were tested in two time-lagged field studies in both Western and Eastern cultures offering unique insights into how familial and work experiences can jointly affect creativity at work.  The broader implications and extension of this research is discussed. 

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Meeting ID:  988 4830 0224