Leadership, Creativity & Innovation: Research section

Leadership, Creativity & Innovation: Researsh section


Other researchers have used innovation as a more inclusive two-component concept encompassing both idea generation and application (e.g., West, 2002).  In this research, however, innovative behavior as a product of creativity was investigated. Componental theory (Amabile, 1988) and the Interactionist theory of Woodman and Schoenfeldt (1993) indicate that leadership style, creativity relevant skills, intrinsic motivation, and domain knowledge are critical for organizational creativity.
Consistent with the literature, creativity has been shown to occur at multiple levels, such as  individual, organizational, group, and environmental (Oldham & Cummings, 1996; Scott & Bruce, 1994; Tierney, Farmer & Graen, 1999).
However, few studies have sought to examine the predictive side of mediating factors increativity leading relationships by considering predictive variables of different levels such as organizational and individual.
Examinations of the mediating role of intrinsic motivation in measuring innovative behavior are virtually nonexistent. Supervisor developmental feedback, creative self-efficacy, and intrinsic motivation expounded in our research are separately assessed on the outcome side: creativity and innovative behavior (Amabile, 1998; Bandura, 1986; Deci & Ryan, 1978). We did include intrinsic motivation as a mediator variable in two hypotheses to test what kind of role it plays when organizational and individual variables are combined.
In view of the role of leadership in organizational innovation, we referred to the previous research (Amabile, 1998; Jung, 2001; Mumford & Gustafson, 1988). The style of leadership examined in this study is a set of behaviors that have come to be labeled “supervisor developmental feedback.’’  Its essence appears to repeat the behavioral set denoted by transformational leadership.
More specifically, supervisor developmental feedback refers to the extent to which supervisors provide their employees with helpful and valuable information so that employees can learn, develop, and make improvements in the performance of their jobs.
When supervisors provide developmental feedback, they are essentially engaging in a practice that is informational in nature: They provide employees with behaviorally relevant information that may lead to the improvement of their performance in the future in the absence of pressure for a particular outcome (Zhou, 2003).
Many theories describe how intrinsic motivation benefits creativity (Amabile et al., 1996). Intrinsic motivation was initially introduced by Amabile (1986) as one of the very important components for creativity and innovation.
It is what makes people become passionate in the task: It makes them feel personally involved in and excited about their work. They experience a deep level of enjoyment in the domain.
To this extent, we predicted that employees’ intrinsic motivation can be increased both on the organizational and individual level. Leadership – more specifically, supervisor developmental feedback – is assumed to have a significant role in increasing employees’ intrinsic motivation, thus leading to innovative behavior.


With this notion we suggested the following:
Hypothesis1. Supervisor developmental feedback is positively related to innovative behavior through the mediating role of intrinsic motivation.


The concept of self-efficacy holds much promise for understanding creative action in organizational settings.  Creative self- efficacy was recognized by Bandura (1986) as a strong source in generating creative aspiration levels. It is a necessary condition for creative productivity and the discovery of ‘’new knowledge.’’  According to the theory, self-efficacy influences the motivation and ability of individuals to engage in specific behavior (Bandura, 1977), as well as the pursuit of certain tasks (Bandura, 1986).
Creative self-efficacy will boost the initiative of individuals to behave innovatively. In line with this theoretical background, we suggested that employees’ creative self-efficacy – the belief employees have in their creative capacity and how this affects their personal involvement and enjoyment of the domain – will create a wholesome foundation for innovative behavior. Creative capacity would be strong source in fostering individuals’ intrinsic motivation and lead them to innovative behavior. Focusing on the mediating role of employees’ intrinsic motivation, we expected the employees to have stronger creative initiatives that result in innovative behavior.


In accord with this, we suggested the following:
Hypothesis 2:  Creative self-efficacy will be positively related to innovative behavior through the mediating role of intrinsic motivation.