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Applied Psychology

Applied Psychology

© International Association of Applied Psychology

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Current Issue:

Biased Self‐Perception Tendencies: Self‐Enhancement/Self‐Diminishment and Leader Derailment in Individualistic and Collectivistic Cultures

Self–other agreement (SOA) discrepancies are commonly interpreted as a lack of self‐awareness. The consistent display of such discrepancies could be considered a behavioral manifestation of biased self‐perception. In extreme forms, we propose that this bias can be viewed as a form of dark personality. Using archival data from a multisource instrument, we examine the derailment implications of self‐enhancement (i.e. overrating) and the opposite tendency, self‐diminishment (i.e. underrating), in collectivistic (Taiwan, China, South Korea) and individualistic (United States of America) cultures. In particular, we examine whether individuals whose biased self‐perception tendencies violate cultural norms are perceived as more likely to derail. In both culture types, individuals with small SOA discrepancies and high ratings on managerial competence were perceived as less likely to derail. However, the implications of self‐enhancement and self‐diminishment were culturally contingent. Self‐enhancement was not related to derailment in individualistic cultures, but in collectivistic cultures, which endorse the norm of modesty, individuals who overrate (self‐enhance) are perceived by their boss as more likely to derail. Substantial underrating (self‐diminishment) was also related to higher perceived likelihood of derailment in collectivistic cultures, but in individualistic cultures, some evidence suggests that self‐diminishment may be related to decreased perceptions of derailment.

Narcissism and Counterproductive Work Behavior (CWB): Meta‐Analysis and Consideration of Collectivist Culture, Big Five Personality, and Narcissism's Facet Structure

A recent review of the relationship between narcissism and CWB reported two key results: (a) narcissism is the dominant predictor of CWB among the dark triad personality traits, and (b) the narcissism–CWB relationship is moderated by ingroup collectivist culture (k = 9; N = 2,708; O'Boyle, Forsyth, Banks, & McDaniel, 2012). The current work seeks to enhance understanding of the narcissism–CWB relationship in five ways. First, we update O'Boyle et al.'s (2012) meta‐analysis to include over 50 per cent more data (k = 16; N = 4,424), and demonstrate that narcissism remains the largest unique predictor of CWB after controlling for the Big Five personality traits. Second, we reveal that O'Boyle and colleagues' inference of cross‐cultural moderation hinges on a single dataset from Bangladesh. Third, based on an original international dataset of on‐line respondents, we reaffirm that ingroup collectivist culture does moderate/weaken the narcissism–CWB relationship. Fourth, we show that the narcissism–CWB relationship is stronger in published (corrected r = .48) versus unpublished studies (corrected r = .15). Finally, we propose a new moderator of the narcissism–CWB relationship: narcissism's facets. One facet (Entitlement/Exploitativeness) relates positively to CWB, whereas another facet of narcissism (Leadership/Authority) relates negatively to CWB.

The Dark Side of Personality and Extreme Leader Behavior

In this study, dark‐side traits are conceptualised as extreme extensions of the “bright‐side” traits of the Five‐Factor Model that often have counterproductive effects. We predict which dark‐side traits will be related to ratings of “too little” and “too much” of four leader behaviors and how low levels of Emotional Stability may accentuate the relationship between dark‐side traits and excessive leader behavior. Analyses in a sample of 320 American and European managers and executives rated by 4,906 co‐workers provided support for most predicted relationships, with medium‐sized overall multivariate effects. Support for a moderating effect for Emotional Stability was also found. Scores near the normative mean on the dark‐side traits were associated with optimal levels of the leader behaviors, whereas both high scores and, unexpectedly, low scores were associated with extreme, ineffective leader behaviors. Implications are considered for future research on the role of the dark side in leadership, re‐conceptualising the interpretation of low scores on dark‐side personality scales, and the coaching and development of managers.

Capitalising on Positive Work Events by Sharing them at Home

The authors integrate existing theory on work–family integration and interpersonal capitalisation on positive work events by examining the effects of sharing positive work events with one's spouse on employee life satisfaction. A field study was conducted with 131 employees of a large Midwestern university, who completed surveys online. Participants provided accounts of their most important positive event during the prior week and indicated whether they had shared this event with their spouse. They also retrospectively rated their positive affect and life satisfaction over the course of the study. Results based on hierarchical regression analysis indicated that having shared that event with one's spouse was positively associated with positive affect and life satisfaction after controlling for personality and event characteristics. These results were corroborated in a subsample of 99 employees whose spouses provided independent reports of whether the event was shared with them. This research reveals that sharing positive events with others has unique and significant contributions to positive affect and life satisfaction. More importantly, these findings show that the interpersonal act of sharing is effective when conducted cross‐domain: the act of sharing positive work events with family members increases positive affect and life satisfaction.

Is Stress Worth it? Stress‐Related Health and Wealth Trade‐Offs for Entrepreneurs

Occupational stress is associated with numerous health problems that cost organisations considerable resources. We explore whether the detrimental effects of stress on individual health are accompanied by productive effects on individual performance for self‐employed people, thereby making stress somewhat “worth it” for this occupational group. Given that positive affect can serve as a stress‐buffering resource, we also examine the potential for positive affect (PA) to moderate these relationships. Our hypotheses are tested using data from the NHANES I Epidemiologic Follow‐up Study (NHEFS) that incorporated extensive demographic, medical history, nutritional, clinical, and laboratory data representative of the non‐institutionalised civilian US population. From this dataset we created a longitudinal matched sample of 688 self‐employed individuals and 688 employees, incorporating self‐reported and physiological measures of stress and health. Our findings indicate that (controlling for past income and prior health) self‐employed people experience greater stress than employees, and they experience a positive impact of stress on income despite a negative impact on physical health. These relationships are moderated by positive affectivity, where PA accentuates the positive effect of stress on personal income and mitigates the negative effect of stress on physical health.

Obligation and Entitlement in Society and the Workplace

This paper describes a model of self‐perceptions about what is owed and what is deserved in society based on research on self‐interest and other‐orientation. Scales measuring obligation and entitlement were developed using the responses of over 10,000 participants from around the world. Results show that obligation and entitlement are not ends on the same self‐interest continuum but are better conceptualised as independent constructs. Obligation and entitlement were also shown to predict prosocial behavior including interpersonal organisational citizenship behaviors, volunteering, and charitable giving. Geographical differences in obligation and entitlement suggest that these constructs may be useful for understanding cultural differences in social investment around the world. A second study of employees in the United States investigated the role of obligation and entitlement in predicting work engagement and effectiveness in the workplace. Obligation predicted engagement and organisational citizenship behaviors, while entitlement was generally less predictive of workplace attitudes and behaviors. This paper concludes with a number of future directions for the continued study of obligation and entitlement in the workplace.

Employees' Political Skill and Job Performance: An Inverted U‐Shaped Relation?

During the past decade, the construct of political skill has attracted a lot of attention. In particular, its relation to job performance has been examined. With regard to this link, it is typically proposed that political skill affects job performance in a positive linear manner. However, in this article it is suggested that intermediate levels of employees' political skill yield the highest job performance, implying that this association is in fact represented by an inverted U‐shape. Findings from two field studies (N1 = 178, N2 = 115 employee‐supervisor‐colleague triads) that incorporated different sample characteristics (early career employees, established employees), job performance dimensions (overall, task, contextual, and adaptive performance), and rating sources (supervisors and colleagues) supported this idea. Across different analyses, employees with intermediate levels of political skill received higher job performance ratings compared to those with lower and higher levels, respectively. In addition, the nature of the relationships between employees and their raters was found to moderate this curvilinear effect. Specifically, besides the fact that employees who had close working relationships with their raters generally received higher job performance ratings, the decreases in the job performance ratings of employees high in political skill were less pronounced when they had close relationships.

Meta‐Analysis of Dark Side Personality Characteristics and Critical Work Behaviors among Leaders across the Globe: Findings and Implications for Leadership Development and Executive Coaching

This paper concerns critical work behaviors for leaders across the globe and how scores on dark side personality measures predict those behaviors. Using a global archive of job analytic data, we first identify the work behaviors most critical for performance in managerial jobs across organisations, industry sectors, and countries. Next, we identify criterion‐related validation research studies including dark side personality measures and performance ratings for at least one of these critical work behaviors. Based on meta‐analytic results, we examine relations between scores on dark side personality measures and critical leader work behaviors. Also, we examine evidence of potential moderators of these relationships. Finally, we consider the implications of our results for I/O professionals engaged in using personality assessment for leadership development and executive coaching.

Neurological Evidence for the Relationship between Suppression and Aggressive Behavior: Implications for Workplace Aggression

Scientific research on the relationship between suppression and aggression is rather scarce. Consequently, practitioners searching for means to reduce workplace aggression do not have adequate data on which factors are related to aggressive behavior in the workplace. To shed light on this relationship, this study investigated emotional suppression in a sample of 17 participants by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and examined their aggressive behavior by using an inventory assessing five types of aggressive behavior. Results of fMRI analysis suggest that the insula, cingulate cortex, and calcarine sulcus are involved in suppression. When the blood‐oxygen‐level–dependent signals of all the significant regions were tested for correlation with the ratings of the five types of aggression given by the participants’ significant others (e.g. family members and/or close friends), a significant correlation was found between activation in the calcarine sulcus during suppression and property aggression. The findings not only indicate the potential neural correlates of observed aggressive behaviors but also emphasise the detrimental effect of unsuccessful, superficial emotion regulation on organisations.

The Conceptualisation and Measurement of Pacing Styles

Pacing style reflects how individuals distribute their effort over time in working toward deadlines. As a new construct introduced in 2002, the notion of pacing style has intuitive appeal, but has been under‐researched, in part, due to a measurement need. Therefore, the purpose of this research was to improve the conceptualisation of pacing style and to develop and validate a new scale‐based measure. The result was the nine‐item Pacing Action Categories of Effort Distribution (PACED), consisting of deadline (complete work in a short time period just before the due date), steady (spread task activities evenly over time), and U‐shaped (invest most of the effort at the start and finish of a task, with a break in between) action styles. Across eight independent samples of students, faculty, and organisational employees, we examined the dimensionality, internal consistency, stability (temporal and situational), and validity (construct, convergent, discriminant, predictive) of PACED. Results support the use of PACED as a reliable and valid measure, and we discuss several research avenues that would benefit from incorporating the concept of pacing style.

Gender Differences in the Perceived Effectiveness of Narcissistic Leaders

Researchers have obtained inconsistent results on the relationship between leader narcissism and leader effectiveness evaluations. Here we draw on social role theory and recent findings on prescriptive gender stereotypes to propose that leader's and follower's gender influence the degree to which narcissistic leaders are perceived as effective. Narcissistic female leaders lack stereotypically gender appropriate qualities (e.g. kindness) and demonstrate undesirable qualities associated with the other gender (e.g. arrogance). This combination is potentially threatening to the traditionally higher status of males, thus resulting in poor leader effectiveness ratings, especially by male subordinates. Conversely, we expect narcissism to be tolerated in male leaders. We find support for this idea in a study on 145 leader subordinate dyads. Female narcissistic leaders were seen as less effective than male narcissistic leaders. However, looking more closely, these lower ratings were only found when male subordinates served as raters. Specifically, male subordinates rated female narcissistic leaders lower while their effectiveness ratings of male leaders were not affected by narcissism. Female subordinates showed no gender bias in their effectiveness evaluations of narcissistic leaders. Thus, gender differences may be an important source of inconsistencies in evaluations of narcissistic leaders.

Dedicating Time to Volunteering: Values, Engagement, and Commitment to Beneficiaries

A moderated mediation model was developed to explain the variation in the amount of time volunteers dedicate to their chosen voluntary cause. Data from 534 volunteers of an international aid and development agency in the United Kingdom revealed a positive relationship between prosocial values and time spent volunteering. The results also show that volunteer engagement fully mediated the relationship between the value motive and time spent volunteering, and the strength of the mediated effect varied as a function of volunteers' commitment to beneficiaries. These findings provide a new perspective on the link between volunteers' motivation and active participation in volunteer activities. Implications for practice and future research directions are discussed.

The Effect of Applicant Impression Management Tactics on Hiring Recommendations: Cognitive and Affective Processes

The main purpose of this study is to investigate whether applicants' impression management (IM) tactics indirectly influence hiring recommendations through cognitive mechanisms (i.e. recruiters' perceptions of person–organisation [P–O] fit, person–job [P–J] fit, and person–recruiter [P–R] fit) or affective mechanisms (i.e. recruiters' positive mood) during authentic employment interviews for actual job openings. Participants consisted of 221 applicant–recruiter dyads from 50 companies in Taiwan. The results demonstrated that applicants' self‐focused IM tactics are positively related to recruiter perceptions of P–J fit, which in turn influence hiring recommendations. In addition, applicant other‐focused IM tactics affect hiring recommendations through recruiters' perceptions of P–O fit. Moreover, applicants' non‐verbal IM tactics were positively related to recruiters' positive mood, which in turn affected recruiters' perceptions of P–J fit and P–O fit, thereby affecting hiring recommendations.

Life Satisfaction and Job‐Seeking Behavior of the Unemployed: The Effect of Individual Differences in Justice Sensitivity

This study examines the effect of justice sensitivity on the life satisfaction and job‐seeking behavior of unemployed individuals and considers the likelihood of experiencing long‐term unemployment. We focus on two facets of dispositional justice sensitivity that reflect individual differences in perception and reactions to perpetrating injustice against others (perpetrator sensitivity) or suffering from the injustice of others as an innocent victim (victim sensitivity). We hypothesised that the negative effect of unemployment on life satisfaction is stronger among individuals with higher levels of victim sensitivity and perpetrator sensitivity. The former are more likely to perceive themselves as victims of an unjust situation, such as fate or the employer's decisions, whereas the latter are more likely to perceive themselves as perpetrators against the rules of social justice. Using survey data from approximately 400 participants, we found that unemployed individuals were less satisfied with life than employed individuals and that this relationship was stronger for perpetrator‐sensitive individuals. Unemployed perpetrator‐sensitive individuals were more likely to engage in active job‐seeking behavior and faced a lower likelihood of long‐term unemployment. The results are discussed in terms of the importance of justice‐related personality aspects of unemployed individuals for their well‐being and labor market outcomes.

Job Control and Burnout: A Meta‐Analytic Test of the Conservation of Resources Model

This meta‐analytic study of 71 independent samples from 66 studies (N = 48,528) examined the relationship between job control and burnout. Based on the Conservation of Resources model, job control was hypothesised to have a stronger relationship with depersonalisation and personal accomplishment than with emotional exhaustion. Overall, results supported the main hypothesis. Moderator analyses indicated that the relations tended to be different depending on job types, the national power distance scores of the samples, and the response formats of the Maslach Burnout Inventory. The results imply that interventions in job control can reduce depersonalisation and enhance personal accomplishment.

When What You Want is What You Get: Pay Dispersion and Communal Sharing Preference

The question of whether pay structures should be compressed or dispersed remains unanswered. We argue that pay dispersion can yield uncertainty regarding others' intentions and behaviors; as a result, individuals take a greater risk trusting their group members as pay spreads widen. Accordingly, we explore the conditions under which individuals are more willing to take this risk by viewing their group members as trustworthy even when pay is dispersed. Specifically, preferences for how relationships and resources should be structured in groups should help to determine when pay dispersion relates to trustworthiness perceptions. We hypothesise that the cross‐level interaction between preferences for communal sharing (Level 1)—that is, the extent to which individuals prefer communal, egalitarian structures in their groups—and pay dispersion (Level 2) is associated with trust perceptions. Data drawn from a sample of university professors support our hypothesised cross‐level interaction, and show that when pay dispersion is greater, individuals perceive their group members as more trustworthy only when they have weak preferences for communal sharing. Our results signify the importance of individual attributes to understanding pay dispersion's effects, and show that trust is fostered when preferences and pay conditions are aligned.

Interpersonal Justice, Relational Conflict, and Commitment to Change: The Moderating Role of Social Interaction

Drawing from Conservation of Resources theory, this study examines the hitherto unexplored mediating role of relational conflict in the link between interpersonal justice and commitment to change, as well as how social interaction might moderate this mediating effect. Data were captured from employees directly affected by a large‐scale restructuring in a European‐based organisation. The analyses show that interpersonal justice positively affects commitment to change and that relationship conflict fully mediates the relationship. Further, social interaction moderates both the interpersonal justice–relational conflict and the relational conflict–commitment to change relationships, such that they get invigorated at higher levels of social interaction. The findings also reveal that the indirect effect of interpersonal justice on commitment to change, through relational conflict, is more pronounced at higher levels of social interaction, in support of a moderated mediation effect. These findings have significant implications for research and practice.

The Role of Self‐Concept in the Mechanism Linking Proactive Personality to Employee Work Outcomes

This study uses cognitive consistency theory to develop a model linking proactive personality to employees' work outcomes. This model was tested using a sample of 161 subordinate–supervisor dyads. HLM analysis results revealed that organisation‐based self‐esteem fully mediated the relationships between proactive personality and the behaviors of job performance and organisational citizenship behavior‐voice and partially mediated the relationships between proactive personality and the attitudes of job satisfaction and affective organisational commitment. Furthermore, perceived insider status moderated the relationship between proactive personality and organisation‐based self‐esteem in such a way that the relationship was stronger for individuals lower rather than higher in perceived insider status.

Do your Dark Side Traits Fit? Dysfunctional Personalities in Different Work Sectors

This study investigates differences in “dark side” traits between those in the public and private sectors, as well as between managers in three distinct industries. In all, 5,693 British adults were tested, roughly half of whom clearly worked in public sector jobs and half in the private sector. We also tested three groups of people (total 1,102) working in very different sectors: finance, insurance, and emergency services. They all completed the Hogan Development Survey (HDS; Hogan & Hogan, 1997), which is a measure of dysfunctional personality styles or potential management derailers. It has 11 dimensions and three higher order factors. Multivariate and univariate analyses of co‐variance (controlling for sex, age, and social desirability) and logistic regressions showed many significant differences, with private sector employees scoring higher on the factor Moving Against/Cluster B and lower on the factor Moving Away/Cluster A. The analysis of the three groups showed that those in the emergency services differed on most traits while Finance and Insurance industry personnel were very similar.

Materialism and the Bright and Dark Sides of the Financial Dream in Spain: The Positive Role of Money Attitudes—The Matthew Effect

Research suggests that materialism leads to the dark side of the financial dream. In this study, we treat love of money as a mediator and test a theoretical model's direct path (Materialism to Financial Satisfaction) and indirect path (Materialism to Love of Money to Financial Satisfaction) simultaneously using the whole sample and across several demographic variables based on 1,011 citizens in Spain. Results for the whole sample showed that the positive indirect effect suppressed the negative direct effect creating an overall small positive effect. Furthermore, we found a significant negative direct path for rural dwellers, the 30–44‐year‐old age group, and married people, but a positive indirect path for rural residents, the 45–59‐year‐old age group, married, males, and urban dwellers. Overall, those in the 30–44 age group, rural residents, and married people experienced the dark side of the financial dream, whereas old (over‐60 age group), unmarried, urban, and young people (18–29 age group) enjoyed the bright side of their financial optimism. People's money attitudes and demographic variables play a positive role in our understanding of materialism and financial satisfaction, i.e. the Matthew Effect. Our novel, counterintuitive, and original theoretical, empirical, and practical contributions foster theory development and testing and improved practice.

Measurement Invariance of the Wong and Law Emotional Intelligence Scale Scores: Does the Measurement Structure Hold across Far Eastern and European Countries?

In recent years, emotional intelligence and emotional intelligence measures have been used in a plethora of countries and cultures. This is also the case for the Wong and Law Emotional Intelligence Scale (WLEIS), highlighting the importance of examining whether the WLEIS is invariant across regions other than the Far Eastern region (China) where it was originally developed. This study investigated the measurement invariance (MI) of the WLEIS scores across two countries, namely Singapore (N= 505) and Belgium (N= 339). Apart from items measuring the factor “use of emotion”, the measurement structure underlying the WLEIS ratings was generally invariant across both countries as there was no departure from MI in terms of factor form and factor loadings. The scalar invariance model (imposing an identical threshold structure) was partially supported. Factor intercorrelations (not involving the factor “use of emotion”) were also identical across countries. These results show promise for the invariance of the WLEIS scores across different countries, yet warn of the non‐invariance of the dimension “use of emotion”. Reducing the motivation‐oriented nature of these items is in order to come to an exact model fit in cross‐cultural comparisons.

Self‐Esteem and Justice Orientation as Moderators for the Effects of Individual‐Targeted and Group‐Targeted Justice

Drawing on the self‐interest and moral virtues perspectives of justice, we examine how self‐esteem and justice orientation as individual difference factors moderate the effects of individual‐targeted and group‐targeted justice on helping behaviors and intention to leave. A scenario‐based study was conducted using a total sample of 624 Japanese undergraduate students. The results highlighted the difference between the moderating roles of self‐esteem and justice orientation. Self‐esteem moderated the effect of individual‐targeted procedural justice on intention to leave such that the effect was stronger when self‐esteem was high. In contrast, justice orientation mainly moderated the effects of group‐targeted procedural and distributive justice on helping behaviors such that the effects were weaker when justice orientation was high. Implications of our findings and future research directions are discussed.

Do Subordinates Formulate an Impression of their Manager's Implicit Person Theory?

Implicit person theory (IPT) is characterised by the belief that specific attributes of people are generally either more static (i.e. entity beliefs) or more malleable (i.e. incremental beliefs). Within the organisational sciences literature, past IPT research has focused on the impact of managers' IPT beliefs on their own behaviours. The current research advances the extant literature by presenting two empirical studies that assess whether subordinates formulate an impression of their manager's IPT. The results are consistent with subordinates forming such an impression, as subordinates working under the same manager generally agreed on their manager's IPT. Moreover, our results support the convergent validity (e.g. with job satisfaction, turnover intention) and the discriminant validity (e.g. with transformational leadership, subordinates' own IPT perception) of the subordinates' impressions of their manager's IPT. The theoretical and practical implications of the current research, and future directions regarding cross‐cultural differences related to IPT impression, are discussed.

Testing the Triple‐Match Principle in the Technology Sector: A Two‐Wave Longitudinal Panel Study

The present study investigates the issue of match between job demands and job resources in the prediction of changes in job‐related well‐being outcomes as outlined by the Demand‐Induced Strain Compensation (DISC) model. Job demands, resources, and well‐being outcomes are considered to be multidimensional constructs comprising physical, cognitive, and/or emotional components. The Triple‐Match Principle (TMP) proposes that the strongest, interactive relationships between job demands and resources are observed when demands, resources, and outcomes are based on identical dimensions. This principle was tested using a two‐wave longitudinal panel study among 720 Belgian employees in the technology sector. Analyses were conducted with cross‐lagged structural equation modeling, and results tend to confirm the matching hypothesis. Specifically, the likelihood of finding valid interaction effects was nearly linearly related to the degree of match between demands, resources, and outcomes. Generalisability of the TMP in the technology sector was shown. Practically, findings indicate that enhancing specific, matching, job resources enables employees to deal with corresponding high job demands to improve employee well‐being.

“What Motivates You Doesn't Motivate Me”: Individual Differences in the Needs Satisfaction–Motivation Relationship of Romanian Volunteers

The present study examines individual differences in the relationship between two core concepts of the self‐determination theory (SDT), namely satisfaction with the autonomy, competence, and relatedness need and motivation (autonomous vs. controlled). Based on the values component of SDT we hypothesised at least two different subpopulations with different need satisfaction–motivation patterns. Data from 349 Romanian volunteers revealed that two groups (or subpopulations) of volunteers can be distinguished, supporting our hypothesis. For the first and largest group, the pattern is in line with the SDT assumption that satisfaction of the autonomy and competence need has an effect on the autonomous forms of motivation. This group is in line with people endorsing intrinsic values. The second group of volunteers, however, revealed that satisfaction with the relatedness need links up with the controlled forms of motivation, and satisfaction of autonomy and competence needs does not predict autonomous motivation. This group is expected to favor extrinsic values. Both relationship patterns were further linked to work engagement and intention to quit, in order to shed light on the practical importance of the observed differences.

Antecedents of Business Opportunity Identification and Innovation: Investigating the Interplay of Information Processing and Information Acquisition

Building on conceptual frameworks of entrepreneurial discovery, we argue that active information search compensates for a lack of entrepreneurial experience and enhances the effects of divergent thinking and general mental ability (GMA) on opportunity identification. We sampled 100 business owners in South Africa. Results confirmed the hypothesised moderating effects of active information search on the relationships of entrepreneurial experience and divergent thinking on opportunity identification. Furthermore, we found direct effects of opportunity identification and conditional indirect effects of divergent thinking on innovativeness of product/service innovations. Our findings suggest that a joint examination of entrepreneurial experience and divergent thinking with active information search helps to better understand opportunity identification.