Work curiosity: A new lens for understanding employee creativity
Abstract Curiosity has long been recognized as the driving force behind individuals' exploratory drive, learning behavior, and willingness to embrace novelty. It is generally believed that the exploratory spirit of a curious mind can enhance the individual's imagination and cognitive capability for creative ideation. But there has been surprisingly little work to clarify the relationship between curiosity and creativity. Moreover, existing research commonly oversimplifies the operationalization of human curiosity. From a pluralist view of curiosity, this paper leverages insights from psychological research to explain how curiosity can be applied in the organizational context and help to better understand employee creativity. We draw upon several seminal theories on curiosity and motivation and explore the effects of organizational context and individual differences on employees' work curiosity. We furthermore elucidate how work curiosity leads to employee creativity by affecting the cognitive processes and psychological states. Implications for future research are discussed.