The evolution of globalization has urged the need for a skilled and energetic workforce. In this vein, researchers have suggested exploring employees’ growth and well-being by investigating thriving at work (Jiang et al. 2020). Thriving at work is described as the combined experience of vitality and learning (Spreitzer et al. 2005). It is considered an important element for sustainable performance (Hussain et al. 2022).

Socially-embedded model of thriving suggests that thriving can be promoted through contextual factors (Spreitzer et al. 2005). Since the literature lacks in investigating job characteristics as unique contextual factors in promoting thriving at work. We advance the literature by investigating task and skill variety with thriving, which will lead to employees’ creativity. The job characteristics model suggests that job-related factors (e.g., task variety, skill variety) play a key role in enriching work experience, which further reflects improved performance (Oldham and Hackman 1980).

Task variety is referred as to dealing with a variety of activities and/or being versatile in operating different work tasks, entailing a wide range of skills (Oldham and Hackman 1980). Skill variety refers to being versatile and learning the skills that are needed to accomplish the required set of job activities (Morgeson and Humphrey 2006). Job characteristics contain an essence of intrinsic motivation which makes individuals’ jobs worthy and meaningful. To complete a variety of tasks, an employee needs to learn a variety of skills. This sense of struggle turns the job characteristics into a frequently happening novel event (Shao et al. 2022). We propose this study based on self-determination theory (SDT) (Ryan and Deci 2020), which suggests that individuals’ basic psychological need satisfaction boosts motivation.

Once the need satisfaction is achieved, employees experience a sense of vitality (Kinoshita et al. 2022) and learning (Spreitzer and Porath 2014). In this context, individuals’ thriving can be translated into a unique and creative performance. Creativity is the development of novel ideas about products, practices, services, or procedures (Ahmad et al. 2022).

The current study entails managerial coaching as a boundary condition between task, skill variety and thriving. Managerial coaching explicates an enacting behavior of managers to facilitate learning by which employees can master the skills and abilities required by a job (Ellinger and Bostrom 1999), which creates a positive impact on job outcomes.

This study underscores multifold additions to an existing pool of research. First, based on SDT, explores the effects of task variety and skill variety on thriving. Secondly, it unveils the thriving and creativity link. Third, it investigates the crucial mediating mechanism of thriving among task variety, skill variety and creativity. Fourth, examining managerial coaching as a boundary condition among TV, SV and thriving. Fifth, testing the thriving-based mediation mechanism linking job characteristics and creativity in the Chinese hospitality industry. Moreover, the present study responds to the research calls (e.g., Jiang et al. 2020; Kleine et al. 2019; Shahid et al. 2020), to explore drivers and outcomes of thriving.

The rest of the paper is structured on the following pattern; Section “Literature and hypotheses” discusses the theoretical arguments about the following proposed relationships (“Task variety and thriving”, “Skill variety and thriving”, “Thriving and creativity”, “Mediating role of thriving”, “Moderating role of managerial coaching”); section “Methodology” that discusses the sampling measurements and details of demographic variables (“Sample and procedures”, “Measures”, “Control variables”); section “Results” that states the correlations, reliability, validity and hypotheses testing results (“Descriptive statistics”, “Validity and reliability”, “Hypotheses test”); section “Discussion” that underscores the theoretical and practical implications along with limitations and future research directions (“Theoretical implications”, “Practical implications”, “Limitations and future direction”) and at last “Conclusion” which concludes the whole background and results of the paper.

Literature and hypotheses

Task variety and thriving

Task variety is explained as hands-on different tasks in a confined period and broadens the scope of the job (Morgeson and Humphrey 2006). General phenomena about jobs containing multiple tasks have been observed to be competitive and interesting (Sims et al. 1976). Task variety provides the opportunity to perform different tasks for one assignment and they get the chance to develop an enhanced understanding of the tasks (Shao et al. 2022). Since task variety contains sensational job experience, we propose that task variety will result in a higher level of thriving. Spreitzer et al. (2005) argued thriving is a source of promoting well-being through formulating self-regulation in individuals. “It is the psychological state where individuals experience a sense of vitality and learning at work” (Spreitzer et al. 2005, p. 538). Vitality is referred as to a sense of being alive along with learning, which strives for gaining knowledge, skills and competencies to accomplish assigned work (Jiang et al. 2020).

The thriving model has recognized the contextual features as enablers of thriving (Chang and Busser 2020), which encourages positive work behavior beneficial for learning while feeling vital (Jiang et al. 2020). Task variety provides significant chances to utilize the abilities to have meaning and motivation in the work (Humphrey et al. 2007). It opposes a stagnant state and acts as a continuous source of learning which makes the work more interesting (Parker and Grote 2022).

Self-determination theory delineates a fundamental aspect that humans are naturally inclined toward attaining psychological nourishment (Ryan and Deci 2020). Individuals are exposed to different job-related challenges to deal with, and integration and internalization of these experiences result in well-being. SDT states the significance of three psychological needs which are vital to be met for accomplishing self-development: autonomy need (a sense of freedom and cheerfulness), competence need (sense of capability, efficacy, and aptitude), and relatedness need (sense of being connected) (Magson et al. 2022).

Satisfying the psychological needs gears up a sense of learning and vitality from a componential perspective. It has been suggested that need satisfaction is a source of enabling vitality among individuals (Magson et al. 2022). A critical aspect of SDT research expounds that the job design formulates the grounds for need satisfaction that is ultimately translated into thriving (Ryan and Deci 2020).

Motivational job characteristics form a work environment that satisfies individuals’ psychological needs which motivates them to act agentic (Jiang et al. 2020). It is argued that task variety possesses a functional value and leads to personal growth and development (Shao et al. 2022). Based on the thriving model (Spreitzer and Porath 2014) and SDT (Ryan and Deci 2020), It is argued that TV satisfies the psychological needs crucial for motivation to experience thriving.

H1: Task variety is positively related to thriving at work.

Skill variety and thriving

Skill variety is the extent to which the work tasks require different skills to be performed (Binder and Blankenberg 2022). Skill variety gleans useful outcomes such as employee engagement, motivation, and job involvement (Humphrey et al. 2007). The challenging nature of work makes employees more engaged in acquiring knowledge and expertise (Saks 2019). Job design theory suggests that performing job tasks turns out to be more meaningful if it contains a greater extent of challenges and skill variety (Oldham and Hackman 1980). Skill variety on the one hand is a challenge, but on the other hand, it is an opportunity to perform such a job which can lead to job satisfaction (Hackman and Oldham 1976).

SDT explicates that fulfillment of basic psychological needs results in a high level of self-determined motivation along with better behavior (Magson et al. 2022). Learning different skills motivates individuals and satisfies the need for competence (individuals’ tendency to deal with the environment). When employees’ job requires them to glean a variety of skills, it creates a meaning of acquiring knowledge and competence which motivates them.

Learning and mastering different skills can be possible in a learning conducive environment. Magson et al. (2022) suggested that having a variety of skills to accomplish an assignment, makes individuals more committed, motivated and satisfied. When individuals are exposed to job-related challenges, they tend to internalize these experiences which are translated into self-development (Jiang et al. 2019). Skill variety is a pool of resources that garners one’s self-growth and SDT also explicates the natural tendency of individuals toward psychological growth (Ryan and Deci 2020).

Extant literature has postulated that skill variety makes employees engaged at work (Saks 2019; Wan et al. 2018). Which exhibits that learning new skills makes motivated and energetic. Employees involved in exploration, tend to interact with each other which creates a pool of resources enabling a learning mode (Spreitzer et al. 2005). Exploring new ways of doing things broadens the physical horizons and creates the meaning of the work. Finally, from SDT’s perspective, task related context builds grounds for meeting basic psychological needs, necessary to enable a sense of vitality and learning (Spreitzer and Porath 2014).

We postulate skill variety as an opportunity to learn and feel vital through intrinsic motivation and as a gateway of psychological nutriments required for satisfying fundamental needs and eventually to experience thriving (Jiang et al. 2020). In line with the thriving model (Spreitzer et al. 2005) and SDT (Ryan and Deci 2020), it is argued that skill variety satisfies the psychological needs conducive to thriving.

H2: Skill variety has a positive influence on thriving.

Thriving and creativity

We suggest that vitality and learning make employees utilize their knowledge, skills and energy to bring creativity to their job performance. Creativity is referred to the generation of unique philosophies and ideas for job procedures and outcomes (Riaz et al. 2018). Individuals realize the opportunities for change and improvement through the learning process. Leaning requires individuals to acquire that promotes creativity (Amabile 1998). First, thriving individuals are in a better state to experience self-development (Spreitzer et al. 2005), and individuals working in a supportive environment act more positively in the formulation of creative work solutions (Lee 2018). Previous literature posed that thriving is an important cause of bringing happiness (Basinska and Rozkwitalska 2020), which has been explained as an emotional state and is a source of nurturing positivity in several aspects of life (Ravina-Ripoll et al. 2022). Moreover, happiness management has been argued to produce resources conducive to creativity (Ravina Ripoll et al. 2019).

Secondly, thriving individuals acquire appropriate skills and knowledge. Learning is inevitable for professional development, and to bring creativity to job performance (Shao et al. 2022), and assuring the effectiveness of creative efforts (Carmeli and Spreitzer 2009). Third, vitality acts as a positive emotion that enables individuals to experience mental and physical nourishment, stay active and energetic, learn, and be capable enough to bring new problem-solving techniques (Zhang et al. 2022), and boost motivation. Importantly, Motivation is a prerequisite of creativity, based on SDT (Yang et al. 2019).

H3: Thriving is positively related to creativity.

Mediating role of thriving

The present study argues that task variety and skill variety as motivational job characteristics will enable thriving, which in turn will boost creativity. It has been suggested by job characteristics theory (Hackman and Oldham 1976), that work-related contextual features tend to boost internal motivation among individuals (Fried and Ferris 1987). Skill variety refers to acquiring diverse skills through job rotation and training workshops, whereas task variety is referred as to performing different tasks in a job context (Morgeson and Humphrey 2006). The thriving model (Spreitzer et al. 2005) and its extension (Spreitzer and Porath 2014) suggest that job characteristics gear up thriving experiences.

Job characteristics shape a framework where individuals feel nourished through the fulfillment of psychological needs which help ignite agentic work behaviors (Spreitzer and Porath 2014). Previous literature confirms the job characteristics and thriving relationship, grounding on SDT (Jiang et al. 2020). It also shows the consistency among job characteristics and SDT which aims at enhancing internal motivation through shaping an optimal work design. For instance, task variety and skill variety satisfy competence needs as it intends to acquire diverse skills and extended knowledge to accomplish the work.

Individuals performing different tasks acquire the required knowledge and skills, which not only accomplish their targets but makes them motivated and satisfied. It has been observed that some features of the work context intrinsically motivate employees to accomplish their assignments energetically (Jiang et al. 2020; Li 2018). Job characteristics (e.g., TV, SV) motivate individuals to engender the experience of knowledge and meaningfulness of results (Hackman and Oldham 1976), and this motivation lets employees experience vitality and learning.

The thriving individuals gain momentum based on aliveness, along with a continuous sense of meaningfulness and improvement in what they do (Porath et al. 2012). One aspect is that learning enables individuals to attain professional knowledge and competencies which ultimately promote creative behavior and the other aspect explicates that individuals experiencing vitality, tend to be motivated and energetic which helps in creative process implementation (Kleine et al. 2019).

The job characteristics model suggests that contextual factors (e.g., task variety, skill variety) can engender enriched motivation through work philosophies. It has been concluded in early and recent studies that motivational job characteristics accomplish useful work output (Humphrey et al. 2007). Individuals acquiring knowledge and competencies set the stage for accomplishing job duties in a creative way (Muñoz-Pascual and Galende 2020).

When individuals keep on learning new knowledge and skills, it boosts their confidence and they try out new things by thinking out of the box and generating creative ideas There are empirical shreds of evidence exist which argue that thriving acts as an important factor in promoting creativity in job performance (Yang et al. 2019). In line with SDT, which states that individuals have the propensity to grow psychologically (Ryan and Deci 2020), and work contexts act as a base for fulfilling the need satisfaction for enabling thriving at work (Spreitzer and Porath 2014), which promotes employee creativity (Yang et al. 2019).

H4: Thriving mediates the positive relation between (a) task variety (b) skill variety and creativity.

Moderating role of managerial coaching

It is referred to as a facilitator for learning in a workplace setting by enacting specific behavior which enables the learning outcomes and development of employees (Ellinger and Ellinger 2021). Coaching is an ongoing process that develops a mechanism of feedback and support for performance enhancement and guiding employees about what is expected from them (Carvalho et al. 2021). Extant literature in the field of managerial coaching witnessed its impact in showing the improved performance (Ellinger et al. 2003; Raza et al. 2018; Zhao and Liu 2020). Managerial coaching has gained the utmost attention across scholarly literature for being an effective tool for talent retention and meeting the developmental expectations of employees (Adele et al. 2022). Existing literature suggests that coaching tends to affect employees’ learning and performance (Raza et al. 2018).

Managerial coaching is a decisive role performed by executives or managers for their subordinates, and it is suggested that vital and supportive managerial acts enhance the employees’ learning, efficiency and effectiveness (Peterson and Hicks 1996). Since job functions have revolutionized managers’ roles and responsibilities, the ways of pursuing management functions have also been modified for putting strategies into action for achieving organizational goals (Raza et al. 2018).

Employees are better able to perform their responsibilities and achieve required outcomes with managerial guidelines (Raza et al. 2018). Managers are considered instructors (Cohen and Tichy 1998), and coaches (Abid et al. 2019), by guiding employees on how to perform a variety of tasks and achieve work goals. Considering managerial coaching as a beneficial mechanism, employees tend to extend their pool of knowledge and feel committed, responsible, satisfied, and thriving (Abid et al. 2019).

The coaching behavior motivates subordinates by providing them feedback through transmitting knowledge to glean enhanced performance (Abid et al. 2019). Managers can bring better performing passion to employees by showing clear pathways, quick feedback, and providing learning opportunities (Adele et al. 2022). Since, skill variety requires a variety of skills (Oldham and Hackman 1980) and task variety requires different tasks to perform (Morgeson and Humphrey 2006), Managerial coaching facilitates them with the training and tactics for improved performance (Abid et al. 2019), and the interaction between managerial coaching and job characteristics will enable a higher level of thriving. Therefore, we propose that managerial coaching can act as a moderator between job characteristics and thriving.

H5: Managerial coaching moderates the relationship between (a) task variety (b) skill variety and thriving. We have added Table 1 to highlight the important literature related to thriving at work.

Table 1 Review of key literature on thriving at work.


Sample and procedures

Participants are full-time frontline hotel employees paired with their immediate supervisors. Frontline employees are considered to be the reflection of service quality (Wu and Chen 2019). We obtained data in two waves with a 1-month time gap through a dyadic-data approach to avoid CMB (Podsakoff et al. 2003).

We used a simple random sampling technique to collect the data. We approached HR personnel of hotels in China to get their permission and explained the purpose of the study to the agreed participant with an assurance about the confidentiality of their personal information. The data collection process was carried out in the medium to high-ranked hotels. The respondents belonged to different departments in the hotel i.e., customer service representatives, waiters, housekeeping staff, food handling personnel, event and tour management staff and reception, etc. The pictorial representation of the methodology has been given in Fig. 1.

Fig. 1
figure 1

Research methodology.

The data was collected during the year 2022 when the pandemic and preventive measures for COVID-19 were in practice. In the first wave, during February 2022, we distributed 380 questionnaires to the employees with the help of human resource personnel. The employees filled in the questionnaires about their task and skill variety, thriving at work and managerial coaching. In the second wave, after a month, in March 2022, the concerned supervisors were asked to fill in the questionnaires to rate the creativity of their subordinates. Each supervisor was dealing with 7–15 employees on average. Out of 380 questionnaires, we received 339 useful questionnaires in the first wave. After getting responses from the supervisors in the second wave, we finally got 313 pairs of questionnaires which summed up to a response rate of 82.37%, encompassing a sampling error ±5.53% at 95% confidence level. The final sample set provided a sufficient piece of information to carry out the analysis.


Task variety, skill variety

We measured task and skill variety, through a 4-item scale for each variable adapted from (Morgeson and Humphrey 2006). “The job requires the performance of a wide range of tasks.” and “The job requires me to utilize a variety of different skills to complete the work.” were the sample items with Cronbach alpha values of 0.847 and 0.837 for task and skill variety respectively.

Thriving at work

This construct was measured by using a 10-item scale by (Porath et al. 2012). “I am not learning” (reverse scored) was the sample item with a Cronbach alpha value of 0.918.

Managerial coaching

We measured managerial coaching through an 8-item scale adapted from (Wang 2013). The sample items included “My superior gives feedback to subordinates with constructive advice. The Cronbach alpha for this study was 0.916.


We examined it through a supervisor-rated 4-item scale adapted from Farmer et al. (2003). “This employee seeks new ideas and ways to solve problems” was the sample item with an alpha value of 0.828.

Control variables

The effects of demographic variables were controlled for their influence on the main variables (Ng and Feldman 2012). Out of 313 samples, 43.1% were male which was coded as “1” and “2” for females. In terms of age, 25.9% were from the 18–25 years bracket, coded as “1”, 31% were from 26–33 years, coded as “2”, 22% from 34 to 41, coded as “3”, 10.9% from 42–49, coded as “4” and rest 10.2% were above 50 years old, coded as “5”. Education was detailed as 8.6% left before reaching high school, coded as “1”, 32.6% had a high school certificate, coded as “2”, 38.7% had a college degree, coded as “3”, 15% were bachelor, coded as “4” and 5.1% were Master’s degree holder, coded as “5”. In total, 42.5% of employees were serving from 1–5 years, coded as “1”, 31% served 6–10 years, coded as “2”, 16% of employees had an experience of 11–15 years, coded as “3”, 6.4% were doing their jobs since last 16–20 years, coded as “4” and 4.2% were accumulated to have an experience more than 21 years, coded as “5”.


Descriptive statistics

Table 2 portrays the value of the mean, SD and correlations. As expected, TV (r = 0.408, p < 0.01), and SV (r = 0.490, p < 0.01) were positively related to thriving at work. Thriving was positively associated with CRE (r = 0.450, p < 0.01). Moreover, MC was positively related with TAW (r = 0.324, p < 0.01). These results provide support for the hypotheses in the present study (Table 2).

Table 2 Correlation.

Validity and reliability

To test the construct validity, CFA was conducted and the measurement model’s fitness was analyzed by checking necessary indicators calculated through AMOS (Kline and Kline 1998). 5-factor model exhibited a good fit χ2 = 648.940, df = 395, χ2/df = 1.643, SRMR = 0.043, TLI = 0.944, CFI = 0.949, RMSEA = 0.045

The values of composite reliability (CR) 0.828–0.918 were >0.70, meeting the threshold requirement (Hair et al. 2011). For reliability check, Cronbach’s alpha ranging from 0.828–0.918 met the requirement for being greater than 0.70. The values of average variance extraction were 0.531–0.583, greater than 0.50. For discriminant validity, both requirements, of having correlation coefficients lower than 0.85 and the square root of AVE should be higher than the coefficient between the variables, were met (Kline 2005) (Table 2).

Hypotheses test

We used SEM (AMOS) (Bollen 1989) to test the hypotheses (H1–H4) of the present study due to its high predictive power for complex models. As a first step, multicollinearity was examined through the variance inflation factor (VIF) whose values were observed as 1.168–1.480, lower than 3, and found to be satisfactory.

H1 and H2 proposed that task variety and skill variety are positively related to thriving at work. H3 anticipated that thriving is positively associated with creativity. After running the results, we found that the values were aligned to the proposed relationships (β TV → TAW = 0.244, p < 0.01), (β SV → TAW = 0.431, p < 0.01) and (β TAW → CRE = 0.531, p < 0.001) (Fig. 2, Table 3). Moreover, the graph of the structural equation model is also plotted to see the regression results (Fig. 3).

Fig. 2
figure 2

Theoretical framework. ***p < 0.001, **p < 0.01.

Fig. 3
figure 3

Graph of structural equation model.

H4a and H4b argued that thriving mediates the relationship between Task variety, skill variety, and creativity. The said paths were investigated through Bias-corrected method based on 5000 bootstrap samples at a 95% confidence interval (Hayes 2013). Our results confirmed and provided support for the said relationships (β TV → TAW → CRE) = 0.130, p < 0.01 [CI: 0.038, 0.235], and (β SV → TAW → CRE = 0.229, p < 0.001 [CI: 0.131, 0.342] (Table 3). The CI does not include any zero between BOOT CI [LLCI, ULCI], shows satisfactory indirect effects along with a good fit χ2 = 422.385, df = 205, χ2/df = 2.060, SRMR = 0.050, TLI = 0.930, CFI = 0.938, RMSEA = 0.058.

Proceeding with H5a and H5b which postulate the boundary condition, PROCESS macro model 1 bias-corrected method with 5000 bootstraps sample at 95% confidence interval (CI) (Hayes 2013), exhibited that managerial coaching satisfactorily moderated TV, SV and thriving (β MC × TV → TAW = 0.190, p < 0.001 [CI: 0.090, 0.290], p < 0.001) and (β MC × SV → TAW = 0.120, p < 0.01 [CI: 0.034, 0.207] (Fig. 2, Table 3). Moreover, Figs. 4 and 5 show the plotting of the interaction effects of MC. The results show that interaction effects were significant at the high level of MC for task variety {β = 0.490, t = 7.118, p < 0.001} and skill variety {β = 0.519, t = 8.610, p < 0.001} and found to be insignificant at a low level of MC for task variety {β = 0.133, t = 2.159, ns} and skill variety {β = 0.292, t = 4.98, ns}.

Table 3 Direct, indirect and interactional paths.
Fig. 4
figure 4

MC’s moderating effect on TAW through TV.

Fig. 5
figure 5

MC’s moderating effect on TAW through SV.


The present study discussed how job characteristics play a crucial role to promote employees’ creativity through thriving. Moreover, examining the boundary condition of managerial coaching on the relationship between TV, SV and thriving. The job characteristics model (Oldham and Hackman 1980) suggested that job characteristics tend to shape enhanced experience which leads to job satisfaction and effective performance.

Based on SDT, this study proposed that task and skill variety have a positive influence on thriving. This shows when employees deal with a variety of tasks and utilize different skills to accomplish their jobs, they get intrinsically motivated which makes them learn and feel vital. The study also postulates thriving is conducive to creativity for which we found support through study results that thriving individuals’ energy and learning enable them to accomplish their work plans creatively (Table 4).

Table 4 Questionnaire.

The study at hand proposed that managerial coaching moderates the link between TV, SV and thriving at work. The results show support for these relationships. This confirms that when employees are dealing with a variety of tasks and utilizing a variety of skills to accomplish their job duties, in this situation, the manager’s coaching can guide them in the right direction.

Theoretical implications

This study underscores multiple theoretical implications. Grounding on SDT (Ryan and Deci 2020), this study suggests that individuals feel motivated when their basic psychological needs are met and they feel thrive at work. First, we have investigated the effects of TV and SV on thriving at work. which states that individuals who experience task variety and skill variety to accomplish their jobs, tend to acquire Knowledge, and experience vitality which makes them feel thrived at work. Secondly, examining the link between thriving and employees’ creativity and also the mediating link of thriving between TV, SV and employees’ creativity. This suggests that when employees are dealing with a variety of tasks and acquire a variety of skills to perform their jobs, they feel thrived at work which eventually makes them think out of the box and exhibit creative behavior.

Third, investigating the crucial boundary condition (managerial coaching) on the link between TV, SV and thriving. This suggests that individuals require managerial coaching while performing a variety of tasks and getting directions for acquiring new skills to experience learning and vitality. Lastly, Based on self-determination theory, this study is consistent with the Socially-embedded model of thriving (Spreitzer et al. 2005) which suggests that SDT is a key mechanism for explaining thriving phenomena.

Practical implications

The present study also offers practical insights for managers. First, the results showed that TV and SV are enablers of thriving which suggests that managers should design employees’ jobs in such a way that they should contain a variety of tasks. It provides an exciting learning opportunity for employees and makes them versatile in different job tasks. Secondly, as skill variety also enables employees’ thriving, managers can take this opportunity to design the jobs in such an achievable way that requires employees to learn new skills. This can be the opportunity for the employees to acquire diversified skills and experience vitality at work which can be a beneficial step toward career development.

Third, results showed that task variety and skill variety enable individuals’ thriving, which leads to creativity. This suggests that managers should shape the work environment in such a manner that can fulfill employees’ basic psychological needs and they can thrive to perform creatively. Fourth, in the scenario, where employees are dealing with a variety of tasks and gaining a variety of skills to accomplish their jobs, managers must be able to provide their expert assistance to employees which will not only motivate them but also guide them to better deal with multiple tasks and to utilize their skills. Moreover, this study suggests managers consider the grounds of the theory of happiness to shape a positive climate that is conducive to creativity (Ravina-Ripoll et al. 2021).

Limitations and future direction

The present study contributes to the existing body of knowledge theoretically and practically, but it is not without limitations which is also a lead for future studies. First, we adopted a cross-sectional design of the study by collecting data at two points in time that could only provide the opinions and perceptions of employees at a specific point of time, future studies can mitigate this limitation by conducting a longitudinal design of the study (collecting the same data over some time to track the changes in the behavior of the same respondent in several waves) which can provide more generalized results. Second, we chose the hospitality sector of China as an area of interest to test the proposed relationship and this selection raises the question of the generalizability of the results to other cultures i.e., Chinese and Western (Zhang et al. 2019) and other sectors i.e., Telecom, Banks, Insurance companies, Construction, etc. This shortcoming can be addressed by examining our research model in other cultures i.e., western and other types of industries.

Third, the dyadic-data approach that means the data collected about employees’ creativity was obtained through the supervisor-rated scale of creativity, to avoid CMB (Podsakoff et al. 2003), yet some shortcomings could be observed in this process i.e., creativity as the behavioral outcome might not be observed in actual by managers and for this, taking comments from customers about employees’ creativity and also conducting mid-term appraisals about employees’ creative behavior might give a better idea to both employees and management. Fourth, we have investigated individual-level factors to examine their effects on thriving at work, future studies can explore these variables at the team level i.e., (team creativity, collective thriving, team empowerment, team proactivity, etc.) to enhance understanding of a collective influence of these factors.

The present study has examined how TV and SV promote thriving that is conducive to the creativity of individuals based on self-determination theory. Yet, there is an extensive need to explore more contextual factors (enhancing/declining) leading to thriving at work. We have investigated managerial coaching as a moderator in this study, while future studies can undertake supportive factors (i.e., organizational support, organizational justice) and other leadership forms (i.e., transformational, servant, participative, transactional) to test if their presence moderates the link between other contextual factors and thriving. Moreover, since the data was collected during the pandemic, which may show creativity under different levels of anxiety and psychological fear. Future studies can test this theoretical model in the post-pandemic era to see the level of thriving and creativity of employees.


The present study is based on self-determination theory, expounding that employees dealing with a variety of tasks and acquiring skills, feel motivated and thrive and ultimately perform creatively. Moreover, results showed that managerial coaching moderated the link between TV, SV and thriving. Conclusively, the present study provides useful insights into hospitality employees and managers. The findings explore the factors by which their thriving can be boosted. It simply suggests that employees’ creative performance is the result of job characteristics based on SDT. These associations of the underlying variables of the study can provide useful insights for the hospitality sector of China specially to understand how thriving can be increased in employees.