Work curiosity and R&D professionals’ creative performance: Scientists vs. engineers

Yu Yu Chang, Hui Yu Shih, Bou‐Wen W. Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Curiosity embodies individual motivation to explore the unknown to either seek the pleasant experience of cognitive stimulation or eliminating the unpleasant feelings of ignorance. Drawing upon the regulatory focus theory, this paper investigates how work curiosity affects professional employees' creativity for improvement and creativity for innovation through the intervening role of creative process engagement. We used structural equation modeling to test our hypothesized framework with a sample of 372 R&D personnel, in-house scientists, and middle managers of R&D divisions, together with archival patent data from knowledge-intensive industries. The findings reveal that work curiosity influences R&D professionals' creativity by regulating their creative process engagement. More interestingly, the results suggest that research type (engineering/technology development vs. scientific discoveries) moderates the mediating effects of creative process engagement in the curiosity-creativity nexus. We leverage insights from psychology research to explore the motivational mechanisms that awaken professional employees' willingness to engage in cognitive activities for creative ideation, which can yield innovative solutions and profitable ideas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102739
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jun

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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