Being ignored by loved ones: Understanding when and why family ostracism inhibits creativity at work

Mayowa T. Babalola, Ho Kwong Kwan, Shuang Ren, Peter Agyemang-Mintah, Haixiao Chen, Jinsong Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


This paper extends the understandings of the contextual antecedents of employee creativity at work by examining what can happen when employees are ostracized by loved ones at home, a phenomenon referred to as family ostracism. Drawing on insights from the conservation of resources (COR) theory, we examine the moderated multiple mediation relationships between family ostracism and an individual's creativity at work through strain-based family-to-work conflict (FWC) and creative process engagement (CPE), moderated by the need for affiliation. Using time-lagged data collected from working adults in the United Kingdom, our results demonstrate that the relationship between family ostracism and creativity is negatively and serially mediated by both strain-based FWC and CPE. These results hold even when controlling for the time- and behavior-based dimensions of FWC, workplace ostracism, family undermining, harmonious passion, and Time 1 creativity. Furthermore, individuals with a higher need for affiliation react more strongly to their experiences of family ostracism than those with a lower need. The implications for research and practice are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-364
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • creative process engagement
  • creativity
  • family ostracism
  • family–work conflict
  • need for affiliation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Being ignored by loved ones: Understanding when and why family ostracism inhibits creativity at work'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this