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Does the Context Matter? The Interplay of HR Systems and Relational Climates Predicting Individual and Team Creativity

Given the influential role of organizational context for creativity, this study examines the cross-level effects of 2 prevalent contextual elements – HR systems and relational climates – on individual and team creativity. We have conducted a multilevel multi-source study through hierarchical linear modeling on a sample of 282 employees nested in 69 teams and 38 firms. The results show that the interplay hypotheses regarding potentially creativity-facilitating contexts were not supported. However, findings suggest that relational climates represent more effective positive predictors of creativity at both levels, above and beyond the effects of HR systems. Therefore, given their very prominent role in enacting the HR context and co-creating the climate in place, line managers should strive to consider individual and team creativity in relational settings and promote an appropriate work context categorized by relational climates. Treating creativity at 2 different levels (individual and team), and accounting for a cross-level interplay focused on the context of those important performance outcomes, have important theoretical implications for creativity and HRM research.