ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2013, Vol. 45 ›› Issue (10): 1147-1162 .doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2013.01147

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The Influence of the Leader’s Creativity on the Employees’ Creativity

PAN Jingzhou;LOU Yating;ZHOU Wenxia   

  1. (1 College of Management and Economics, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China) (2 Advanced Training Center of State Grid Corporation of China, Beijing, 100192, China) (3 School of Labor Relations and Human Resources, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China)
  • Received:2012-07-16 Published:2013-10-25 Online:2013-10-25
  • Contact: ZHOU Wenxia

Abstract: Since individual creativity is the building block for organizational innovation, there is a heightened level of interest in individual creativity. With many influencing factors, special attention has been devoted to a leader’s impact on followers’ creativity. Drawing on social cognitive theory, the study focused on the influence of the leader’s creativity on the employees’ creativity in organizational settings, and further incorporated Leader Member Exchange Relationship (LMX) and authoritarian leadership as situational factors to tap their interaction effects on employees’ creativity. We conducted two studies using two different samples of leader-subordinate dyads in China to test our assumptions. Data in study 1 were collected from three Chinese organizations including a college, a hospital and a public institution. A total of 120 employees and their leaders participated in the survey and 96 (80%) pairs of leader-member dyads provided usable responses. The result of Study 1 demonstrated that the presence of the leader’s creativity was associated with the employees’ creativity and intrinsic motivation was a mediator between the two constructs. The data in Study 2 was collected from 21 Chinese companies of various sizes in the industries of construction design, electronics, information technology, networking, software and consulting. All 202 leader-member dyads were invited to participate in the survey, and 194 pairs (96%) provided usable responses. The findings showed: (1) the presence of the leader’s creativity had a positive association with the employees’ creativity; (2) authoritarian leadership positively moderated this relation; (3) LMX interacted with the joint condition to affect employees’ creativity – more specifically, the effect of the leader’s creativity on the employees was stronger when both LMX and authoritarian leadership were high than when LMX was high and authoritarian leadership was low; the effect of the leader’s creativity on the employees was stronger when both LMX and authoritarian leadership were low than when LMX was low and authoritarian leadership was high. Different from other studies’ focusing on the leader’s management activity, we demonstrated the implicit and potential influence of the leader’s creative performance at work on the followers as well as the influences of some context variables. By doing this, we expect to enrich the social learning theory and leadership literatures. By discussing the interaction effects, some straightforward fashions were challenged. At the end of the paper, the limitations and the future directions were discussed.

Key words: Creativity, LMX, Authoritarian Leadership, Social Learning Theory