Employees dial back on creativity and risk-taking when they are focused on providing for their families, according to an Academy of Management Journal article.

Research findings back up the common perception that employees work harder when they have children and families to support. But these new findings show family motivation can be a double-edged sword. The researchers called it a creativity “tax.”

Family-focused employees work harder, but not necessarily smarter, and they are less likely to innovate and take risks, according to the authors of “Playing It Safe for My Family: Exploring the Dual Effects of Family Motivation on Employee Productivity and Creativity.” The research team examined the attitudes of men and women in China; 187 low-wage, blue-collar workers and 439 relatively high-income, white-collar employees. They also conducted 40 interviews with 40 high-income employees.

Read more at AOM Insights