Customer needs in service settings are idiosyncratic. Responding to these unique needs requires frontline employees to be creative. Little research looks at the drivers of service employee creativity. We aim to fill that void by assessing two potential key creativity drivers, control mechanisms and management orientations. We collected data from frontline employees and their managers and used multilevel mediation modeling, configurational modeling and analysis of necessary conditions. Multilevel analysis revealed that the influence of process and social controls on employee creativity are fully mediated by self-control, whereas the effects of cultural control are partially mediated. The effect of the service orientation of management on employee creativity is partially mediated by self-control, whereas the effect of profit orientation is fully mediated. Causal models from employee control mechanisms and management orientation configurations provide a deeper insight of sufficient conditions leading to employee creativity. Necessary employee control mechanisms and management orientations are identified.