Being open, feeling safe and getting creative: The role of team mean openness to experience in the emergence of team psychological safety and team creativity

Claudia Sacramento*, Joanne Lyubovnikova, Ieva Martinaityte, Catarina Gomes, Luis A. Curral, Andrea Juhasz-Wrench

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although the effects of openness to experience (OTE) on individual creativity are well-established, research on how such effects unfold in a team context is scarce. Drawing on theories of group norms and uncertainty reduction, we argue that team mean OTE leads to a climate of team psychological safety which, in turn, facilitates team creativity. We test our hypothesis over three independent studies, the first comprising 35 business student project teams, the second based on 28 professional teams from the automotive industry, both conducted in the United Kingdom, and the third comprising 24 healthcare teams in Portugal. As predicted, across all three studies, team mean OTE was positively associated with team creativity via the affective emergent state of team psychological safety. Furthermore, the mediating role of team psychological safety remained significant even when accounting for team OTE variance, alternative motivational and cognitive emergent states, namely team promotion focus (studies 1 and 2) and team exploration climate (study 3), as well as empowering leadership (study 3). Finally, in study 3, we examined the differential impact of the two major facets of OTE, intellect, and openness, and found that intellect, but not openness, was responsible for driving the indirect effects. Further analysis did not support alternative perspectives concerning team OTE variance or the interaction between mean and variance. Our findings not only contribute to theoretical understanding regarding the relationship between team personality composition, specifically OTE, and team creativity but also provide much-needed insight into how such effects unfold. We delineate several practical implications for team design and development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-35
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Product Innovation management
Issue number1
Early online date10 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

© 2023 The Authors. Journal of Product Innovation Management published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Product Development & Management Association.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • openness to experience
  • team creativity
  • team personality composition
  • team psychological safety


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