When do work stressors lead to innovative performance? An examination of the moderating effects of learning goal orientation and job autonomy.

Based on the conservation of resources theory, we investigated how challenge and hindrance stressors interact with personal and contextual characteristics in influencing employees’ supervisor-rated innovation. Analyses were conducted on a sample of 217 employees and 49 supervisors (i.e., employees nested within supervisors). Employees reported on their work stressors, learning goal orientation, and job autonomy, whereas supervisors provided ratings of employees’ innovative performance. Results suggest that learning goal orientation moderates the stressor–innovation relationship such that challenge stressors positively and hindrance stressors negatively impact innovative performance, only for employees with low learning goal orientation. Further, job autonomy moderates the effects of hindrance stressors (but not challenge stressors) on innovation. Specifically, hindrance stressors negatively relate to innovative performance for employees with high job autonomy. Collectively these results suggest that managers should improve working conditions (e.g., reducing hindrance stressors and increasing job autonomy) and consider employees’ learning goal orientation and job autonomy when assigning work. Our findings contribute to the research seeking to clarify the nature of the stressor–innovation relationship by reconciling the mixed findings concerning the effects of challenge/hindrance stressors on employee innovative performance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)