The impact of stressors on the relationship between personality traits, knowledge collection behaviour and programmer creativity intention in software engineering

Aamir Amin, Mobashar Rehman, Shuib Basri, Luiz Fernando Capretz, Muhammad Awais Shakir Goraya, Rehan Akbar

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Context: Individual and contextual factors have a profound impact on an individual’s creativity. In the first part of this research, we concluded that, for a programmer’s creativity intention, individual factors including big 5 personality traits and knowledge collection behaviour play a key role. However, it is important to bring contextual factors into the model to provide a holistic understanding.

Objectives: Hence, the objective of the present research is to expand the earlier work by (i) identifying the software engineering occupational stressors relevant to programmers, and (ii) examining their impact as moderators for the relationship between individual factors (i.e., big five personality traits and knowledge collection behaviour) and the creativity intention of the programmer.

Methods: To analyse the moderating impact of 6 stressors, the survey questionnaire was used to collect data from 294 programmers working in software companies in Pakistan. The data were analysed using the Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) – Partial Least Square (PLS) technique.

Results: The findings revealed that in the presence of a moderate level of stress, the relationship between knowledge collection behaviour and creativity intention was strengthened. Furthermore, stressors interacted differently with different personality traits. An overarching statement could be that most of the stressors positively moderated the relationships between different personality traits and creativity intentions. However, contrary to the prior research, the majority of the stressors negatively affected the impact of the openness to experience trait on creativity intention.

Conclusion : The research significantly contributes to the body of knowledge of behavioural software engineering. The findings of this research are novel and intriguing in many aspects and will benefit software organizations to increase innovation, by increasing programmers’ creativity through mitigating stress. The study is also one of the few studies which have attempted to understand the interaction between individual and contextual factors with a programmer’s creativity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107288
Number of pages16
JournalInformation and Software Technology
Early online date25 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023


  • creativity
  • stress
  • knowledge collection behaviour
  • personality traits
  • software engineering
  • programmer
  • theory of creativity
  • componential

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