How designed work environment and enacted work interactions impact creativity and work–life balance

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European Journal of Innovation Management




Purpose: This paper investigates how (1) a work environment designed to sustain creativity (i.e. through flexible arrangements and elements of the social-organizational work environment) and (2) the amount of enacted work interactions among employees, interpreted as facilitators of new idea generation (i.e. outdegree centrality in instrumental networks), differently impact creativity and work–life balance. Design/methodology/approach: The authors conducted a quantitative study in a knowledge-intensive multinational company and collected data through a survey on a sample of 207 workers. Findings: Findings highlight that flexible work arrangements are positively related to increased work–life balance but not to creativity, whereas having access to a social-organizational work environment designed to foster creativity is associated to an increased level of idea generation, but to a reduction in work–life balance. In addition, centrality in instrumental social networks is also associated to a reduction of work–life balance. Findings thus point to a potential trade-off between structures aimed at increasing creativity and initiatives aimed at engendering work–life balance. Originality/value: The research contributes to the current debate on new organizational practices for innovation and creativity, highlighting their unexpected implications for workers. The research also contributes to the literature on work–life balance by unraveling previously unexplored antecedents, i.e. social networks and the social-organizational work environment designed for creativity.


Cross-creativity, Social networks, Structural equation modeling, Work environment, Work–life balance