PurposeIntegrating the lifespan perspectives on job design and creativity/innovation, the purpose of this paper is to examine the moderating role of chronological age in the relationship between cognitive job demands (i.e. job complexity and job innovation requirements) and individual innovative work behavior (IWB).
Design/methodology/approachMultilevel regression analyses are employed to analyze survey data of 336 employee–supervisor dyads from 61 departments across three organizations.
FindingsResults demonstrate that age was a significant moderator of the cognitive job demands-IWB relationship. Under the condition of high job complexity, younger employees outperformed their older counterparts. Conversely, older employees attained the same level of IWB as younger colleagues when more job innovation requirements were placed upon them.
Practical implicationsIWB needs to be stimulated following different paths and by making job design decisions with regards to cognitive job demands that are dependent on employee age.
Originality/valueEmpirical evidence has been provided to support the lifespan perspective on job design, with a special focus given to the cognitive job demands–IWB relationship.