Direct and indirect effects of transformational leadership on innovative behavior
Table of Contents
This study aims at investigating how transformational leaders directly and indirectly (via affective commitment to the organization, the career, the leader, and the team and innovative climate) affect employees’ innovative behavior. The hypotheses are tested by applying quantitative analyses to data collected from 39 employees of a multinational high-technology group, specialized in the photo sensor technology in the Netherlands. The results of the analysis do not support the direct link between transformational leadership and innovative employee behavior. Yet, they support the moderator effect of affective commitment to the organization and the moderator effect of innovative climate between transformational leadership and innovative employee behavior. Likewise, a positive relationship between transformational leadership and innovative climate as well as affective commitment towards the leader got supported. Nevertheless, innovative behavior might have been influenced by other factors rather than transformational leadership. The limitations of the findings and recommendations for future research are discussed.
transformational leadership, innovative behavior, affective commitment towards the organization, the career, the leader, the team, innovative climate
In order to be adaptive and responsive to uncertain, competitive and changing environments, organizations, especially technology-driven organizations, need to be highly creative and innovative in order to maintain a competitive advantage (Gumusluoglu & Ilsev, 2009). In many studies (Gumusluoglu & Ilsev, 2009; Kim & Mauborgne; 1999) it is stated that particularly innovation is the key to success. Moreover, it is considered to add value and supports to go ahead of competitors (Oke, Munshi, & Walumbwa, 2009). Following the definition of Schumpeter (1934), innovation is the “creation and implementation of new ideas, products, processes, and policies.” An idea is at the core of innovation and its effective implementation is contributed by the individual employees’ knowledge (Scott & Bruce, 1994; Shipton, West, Dawson, Birdi, & Patterson, 2006). Janssen (2000) describes innovative behavior as the creation of valuable new products or services within a work role, a group or an organization, aiming to benefit “the role performance, the group, or the organization”. Since innovation is of utmost importance for the long-term economical achievement of an organization, a vast array of research has been conducted upon the factors that facilitate employees’ innovative behavior (Mumford, Scott, Gaddis, & Strange, 2002; Scott & Bruce, 1994). Among the factors that primarily influence employees’ innovative behavior, especially transformational leadership has been identified as having a significant impact on innovative behavior (Oke, Munshi, & Walumbwa, 2009; Jung, Chow, & Wu, 2003). According to Bass (1990), transformational leaders stimulate their subordinates to go beyond their self-interest and contribute to the achievement of organizational goals by means of their four unique but interrelated behavioral components: charisma, intellectual stimulation, consideration of the individual, and inspiration. Transformational leaders also indirectly support innovative behavior (Jung, Chow, & Wu, 2003) by influencing employees’ organizational commitment (Avolio, Zhu, Koh, & Bhatia, 2004) and establishing an organizational climate that encourages employees to generate novel ideas (Scott & Bruce, 1994). Meyer and Herscovitch (2001) find that organizational commitment motivates employees to go beyond their self interest to contribute towards the firm’s benefit. Therefore, it should be the interest of each organization to maximize the commitment of the individual to reinforce innovative behavior and...
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