Facing the complex challenges from the environment, if organizations want to survive and develop continuously, they must insist on innovation. Employee creative performance affects the innovation of the entire organization deeply. Thus, managers, scholars, or policymakers are paying more and more attention to employee creative performance. Among the factors that affect employees’ innovation, leadership style plays a vital role. Plenty of leadership styles (e.g., transformational, transactional, and authentic leadership) may influence employee creative performance. Which kind of leadership style has a higher correlation with employee creative performance? To answer this question, drawing on self-determination theory (SDT), we proposed a theoretical framework, to explain the differences of correlations between different leadership and employee creative performance. To begin with, we hypothesized that transformational leadership, transactional leadership, authentic leadership, ethical leadership, servant leadership, inclusive leadership, empowering leadership, and leader-member exchange are positively related to employee creative performance. Among these leadership styles, authentic leadership had the highest correlation. Then, we hypothesized in the following situations(1) when the sample comes from a country with high individualism, (2) when the creative performance is evaluated by others, and (3) when the data is collected at multiple time points, the correlations between leadership style and employee creative performance were lower. Finally, we detected the potential moderating effects of the measurement of leadership and creative performance
We used meta-analysis to summarize evidences from 432 independent empirical studies (229 Chinese studies and 203 English studies, with a total sample size of 161599 to test our hypothesis. To begin with, we searched the studies from multi-databases. Then, we coded the necessary information from the previous survey studies. Next, the Hunter-Schmidt random effect meta-analysis method was used to correct statistical artifacts (e.g., measuring error and sampling error) and evaluate the true score correlations. Finally, subgroup analysis was used to detect the potential moderating effects.
The results showed that: (1) transactional leadership (ρ = 0.273), ethical leadership (ρ = 0.300), transformational leadership (ρ = 0.364), servant leadership (ρ = 0.400), leader-member exchange(ρ = 0.401), empowering leadership (ρ = 0.402), inclusive leadership (ρ = 0.457), and authentic leadership (ρ = 0.475) had significant positive correlations with employee creative performance, and their correlations showed an upward trend; (2) individualism, methods of performance appraisal, the time point of data collection, measurement of leadership, measurement of employee creative performance and publication language partially moderated the relationship between leadership styles and employee creative performance.
Based on the SDT, this research proposed a theoretical model to explain the different effects of different leadership styles on employee creative performance and test the model robustly based on the meta-analysis technology. Therefore, the theoretical implication of this research mainly focuses on this model. First, this research promotes the development of theories related to leadership styles and employee creative performance. Second, this research promotes the development of self-determination theory and expands the scope of application of self-determination theory. The practical implication is that, when organizations need employees to show higher creative performance, managers can try to adopt the authentic leadership style.