The Dual Effect of Transformational Leadership on Individual- and Team-Level Creativity
Akinlade, Ekundayo Y.
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Research on the relationship between transformational leadership (TFL) and creativity has produced mixed findings both at the individual and team levels of analysis, and it is not clear whether TFL has a positive, negative or non-significant influence on creativity. To better understand the relationship between TFL and creativity, the current study advances and tests an integrated and contingent multi-level model of TFL and creativity. Drawing on Amabile’s (1983, 1996) componential theory of creativity and Wang and Howell’s (2010) dual effect TFL framework, I contend that TFL has distinct effects on individual- and group-level creative processes and performance. Specifically, I propose that individualized TFL behaviors foster followers’ creative self-efficacy and creative role identity, promoting individual creativity. At the group level, I argue that group-focused TFL behaviors foster a team context that helps develop teams’ shared creative efficacy beliefs and creative identities, promoting team creativity. Also, I propose cross-level relationships between team creative processes and performance, and individual creative processes and performance respectively. Finally, I posit that employees’ perceptions of their organization’s support for creativity enhance the positive relationship between TFL and creativity at both the individual and team levels. The results, using a sample of 139 professionals from 42 teams from a service-oriented organization, partially supported the relationships proposed in the model advanced. In particular, I found evidence of cross-level relationships between team creative efficacy and creative efficacy, and between team creativity and individual creativity. However, contrary to my prediction, TFL was not significantly related to creativity at the individual and team levels. The implications of these findings are discussed in light of recent theorizing that challenges the effectiveness of TFL on creativity.