Leadership, Creativity & Innovation: Discussion and conclusion

Leadership, Creativity & Innovation: Discussion, Limitations and Conclusion

The general arguments made in the introduction about the mediating role of intrinsic motivation were mostly supported here. It can be registered that intrinsic motivation partially mediates the relation between supervisor developmental feedback and innovative behavior. Being recognized as a very important factor, supervisor developmental feedback showed 18.5 % of total variance influencing  innovative behavior and 8% of total variance influencing intrinsic motivation.

Consequently, by providing developmental feedback supervisors appear to accomplish an important role in increasing both employees’ intrinsic motivation and innovative behavior. Two variables together explained 34.8 % of total variance in influencing innovative behavior. This small percentage  represents a kind of limitation of the study. It shows that there are other variables that can explain this relation by 65.2 % of total variance. This can be explained from different viewpoints: First, it could be attributed to the short scale measuring the supervisor developmental feedback (3 items). Moreover, one reversed item showed slightly higher alpha Cronbach (.923) and had no loading on any indicator in factor analysis.         

The expectations about the mediating role of intrinsic motivation between creative self-efficacy and innovative behavior have also been supported.

Multiple regression model demonstrated the insignificance of self-efficacy in the prediction of innovative behavior. Due to high correlation with creative self-efficacy, the regression caused the exclusion of the variable that in simple linear regression showed weaker predictive power on the outcome variable than the other variable. In this case it was creative self-efficacy.

To make clearer this kind of interpretation it’s worth noting once again that a variable is said to function as a mediator when variations in the independent variables significantly account for variations in the proposed mediator, variations in the mediator significantly account for variations in the dependent variable, and, when controlling for the mediator, a previously significant relationship between the independent variable(s) and the dependent variable decreases or becomes insignificant (see Barron and Kenny, 1986).

Nevertheless, creative self-efficacy in the simple linear regression model showed a high level of influence on intrinsic motivation: It appeared to be very strong source in that influence (50.5%), while innovative behavior was again in strong correlation with intrinsic motivation, showing .52.  Thus, it can be concluded that creative self-efficacy is a quite powerful source for boosting an individual’s initiative to behave innovatively.

The suggested hypothesis, with its statistical analysis, apparently broadens the path through which the innovative behavior can be pursued in organizational settings. Theoretically, it stems directly from the self efficacy theory and the assumptions suggested by the above mentioned researchers about motivation role in creativity. The proved hypothesis suggests that supervisors take into account employee’s intrinsic motivation as a necessary tool in getting them to generate new ideas and behave differently. Both of hypotheses are proved to become a reliable guide for employees to pursue the task and to be consistent in the attempts to behave innovatively.

The correlation of intrinsic motivation with two different level variables showed that with organizational level variable (supervisor developmental feedback) it is weaker, (.28), than with individual level variable (creative self-efficacy, .71). This difference was reflected in regression process where intrinsic motivation turned out to  gain a real mediating role, while self-efficacy, being an individual level variable,  was in strong correlation with intrinsic motivation and appeared to be expressed through it.

Thus, statistically, it can be concluded that one individual level variable cannot take a mediating role for another individual variable.

Though almost all of the scales showed high validity and reliability, in the future it would be better to improve them, specifically, the scale of supervisor developmental feedback. It had only 3 items, thus restricting the chance to measure the given construct.  By improving the scales, it will be possible to test the models on larger samples and use them as useful models for implementing.

Nevertheless, the analysis of the data warranted the assumptions made previously and undoubtedly proved the way for boosting the employee’s innovative behavior within the organization.  As Sternberg suggested (1999, p. 383), though innovation stems from individual talent and creativity, it is the organizational context that mediates this individual potential and channels it into creative production. 

It can be stated also that this study joins Amabile et al. (1986) in demonstrating the importance of leadership style in an applied setting.

Thus becoming clear that one fundamental antecedent to employee creativity is supervisor’s feedback on employees’ work.

The extension of Amabile’s componental model motivation was one of six required resources.  The data supported also Woodman and Schoenfeldt’s (1989,

1990) interactionist model of creative behavior, which acknowledged intrinsic motivation as a component of the individual that is conductive to creative accomplishment (Sterberg, 1999).

To interpret the data analysis on the basis of the sample, it should be noted that enterprises had different departments and activities, such as that of mechanics and electricians, and there was production of different types, including textile and services. They proved to have realized innovations, and in that process the role of supervisors was significant. In addition, they proved also to behave innovatively by exercising their motivation and self – efficacy. 

Referring to Kanter (1986), we infer also that product innovations must have been more likelyin new organizations, and process innovations in established organizations. She notes that the innovation process is uncertain and unpredictable, that it is knowledge intensive, controversial, and that it crosses boundaries. Thus, innovation is seen as being most likely to flourish under conditions of flexibility, quick action and intensive care, coalition formation and connectedness. He states that innovation is most likely in organizations that

(a) have integrative structures,

(b) emphasize diversity,

(c) have multiple structural linkages inside and outside the organization,

(d) have collective pride and faith in people’s talents, and

(f) emphasize collaboration and teamwork.

Organizations producing innovation have ‘’more complex structures that link people in multiple ways and encourage them to do what needs to be done within strategically guided limits, rather than confining themselves to the letter of their job’’ (Kanter, 1988, p.172).

He argues that that the generation of new ideas that activates innovation is facilitated by organizational complexity: diversity and breadth of experience, including experts who have a great deal of contact with experts in other fields; links to users; and outsiders, openness to the environment; and integration across fields via intersecting territories, multiple communication links, and smaller interdisciplinary business units. Conversely, isolation, or what can be termed ‘’segmentalism’’ (Kanter, 1983), inhibits this critical first phrase of innovation.

Innovation flourishes where ‘’communication integration’’ is high (Rogers & Shoemaker, 1971). Open communication patterns make it easier to identify and contact potential coalition members and to tap their expertise.

Examples of ‘’open communication’’ systems from innovating companies stress access across segments.

‘’Open door’’ policies mean that all levels can, theoretically, have access to anyone to ask questions, even to criticize.   Such open communication norms acknowledge the extent of interdependence – that people in all areas need information from each other. (Kanter, 1988). 

Structural and social conditions within the innovation team also make a difference in success. Because ‘’interactive learning’’ (Quinn, 1985) is so critical to innovation, innovation projects are particularly vulnerable to turnover. Continuity of personnel, up to some limits (Katz, 1982), is an innovation –supporting condition. One of general sources of expectations for innovation lies in whether the organization’s culture pushes ‘’tradition’’ or ‘’change’’. Innovators and innovative organization’s culture pushes ‘’tradition’’ or ‘’change’’.  Innovators and innovative organizations generally come from the most modern ‘’up to date’’ areas rather than traditional ones with preservationist tendencies , and they are generally the higher prestige ‘’opinion leaders’’ that other seek to emulate (Rogers & Shoemaker, 1971; Hage & Dewar, 1973).

But opinion leaders are innovative only if their organizations norms favor change, this is why the values of the leaders are so important. Most people seek to be culturally appropriate, even the people leading the pack. There are thus more impetus to seek change when this is considered desirable by the company.      

In light of the above mentioned arguments, the other limitation of the study turns out to be the lack of any research in those companies regarding whether they showed openness to change and whether they invested in specific resources for the particular innovation.

In addition, the interests, communication and coalition channels make up important preconditions of organizational innovation. The lack of the data on those factors doesn’t permit us to draw conclusions on what level and what kinds of innovations have been made within the given department. For example, did they belong to ‘’traditional ones’’ or emulated ‘’opinion leaders ’’?  In addition, we cannot determine, in general, what kinds of strategies and culture the company’ leaders elaborate to establish an innovative organization.

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