ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (4): 761-780.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.00761

• Meta-Analysis • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Challenge-hindrance stressors and innovation: A meta-analysis

WANG Jiayan, LAN Yuanmei, LI Chaoping()   

  1. School of Public Administration and Policy, Renmin university of China, Beijing 100872, China
  • Received:2021-03-08 Online:2022-04-15 Published:2022-02-22
  • Contact: LI Chaoping


Employee innovation is the focus of current organizational behavior research, and the high demand for employee innovation and change in enterprises lead to the high pressure that employees face at work. Several studies have been conducted by researchers on the relationship between work stressors and employee innovation. Current empirical research findings on the relationship between challenge-hindrance stressors and employee innovation vary, for example, in terms of relationship strength and relationship direction. Employee innovation is found to have positive, negative, and nonlinear relationships with the challenge-hindrance stressors. Furthermore, the mechanism and boundary conditions for the challenge-hindrance stressors that affect employee innovation have not been fully revealed. Based on the current state of research on the relationship between the challenge-hindrance stressors and employee innovation, this study used the challenge-hindrance stressors model to investigate the relationship between different types of challenge-hindrance stressors and employee innovation through the meta-analysis method.

According to literature retrieval and screening, keywords such as challenging stressor(s) (workload, job complexity, task conflict, and time pressure), hindrance stressor(s) (role stress, interpersonal conflict, and job insecurity), and innovation (individual creativity, individual innovation behavior, and individual innovation performance) were included. Finally, 149 independent studies with 141 articles were included for the analysis, with a total sample size of 46,261. For the analysis, we used the psychmeta meta-analysis package in R, which included publication bias tests, main effect tests, heterogeneity tests, and moderating effect analyses.

The publication bias results showed that the p values of Egger’s regression coefficient and Begg rank correlation test for challenging stressor, hindrance stressor, and their subgroups were insignificant (p > 0.05). The heterogeneity test was significant, indicating that the random effect model was suitable for the study. The main effect results showed that the task complexity and task conflict in challenge stressor and subgroups had a positive effect on employee innovation. Hindrance stressor had a negative impact on employee innovation. Cultural differences, data sources, and data collection time had different moderating effects on the relationship between different stressors and innovation, which can be expressed as follows. (1) Compared with individualism orientation, under the background of high collectivism orientation, high power distance, and a long-term orientation, the hindrance stressor had a stronger and significantly negative correlation with employee innovation, while under the background of high collectivism orientation, the hindrance stressor had a significantly positive correlation with employee innovation. (2) Compared with other-rating, when the data comes from employee self-rating, challenge stressor had a stronger and significantly positive correlation with innovation, and hindrance stressor had a stronger and significantly negative correlation with innovation. (3) compared with longitudinal study, in the cross-sectional study, challenging stressor has a stronger positive effect on employee innovation, while data collection time has insignificant moderating effect on the relationship between hindrance stressor and employee innovation.

Consequently, we aimed to investigate the strength and direction of the relationship between binary work stressors and employee innovation in a large sample and consider the potential moderating effects of cultural differences, data sources, and data collection time points. The results of this study will provide a reference model for future enterprise management practices, such as maintaining a reasonable pressure level and category control, encouraging employee innovation within the organization, and improving the innovation performance and core competitiveness of individuals and organizations.

Key words: challenge stressor, hindrance stressor, innovation, meta-analysis

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