نقش رهبری تحول گرا در افزایش نوآوری سازمانی: فرضیه و برخی از یافته های مقدماتی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|19447||2003||20 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : The Leadership Quarterly, Volume 14, Issues 4–5, August–October 2003, Pages 525–544
A wide range of factors has been found to affect organizational innovation. Of these, top managers' leadership style has been identified as being one of the most, if not the most, important. Yet, few studies have empirically examined the link between this factor and innovation at the organizational level. This study builds on the extant literature to propose four hypotheses about how top managers' leadership styles directly and indirectly (via empowerment and organizational climate) affect their companies' innovation. A multisource approach is used to collect survey data from 32 Taiwanese companies in the electronics/telecommunications industry. The findings support a direct and positive link between a style of leadership that has been labeled as “transformational” and organizational innovation. They also indicate that transformational leadership has significant and positive relations with both empowerment and an innovation-supporting organizational climate. The former is found to have a significant but negative relation with organizational innovation, while the latter has a significant and positive relationship. The implications of the findings and possible directions for future research are discussed.
In today's globalized economic environment, customers' vastly increased access to information and suppliers has empowered them to demand ever-increasingly arrays of product features, higher quality, better service, and favorable price/cost ratios Brett & Okumura, 1998 and Yukl, 2001. These realities of the marketplace have put tremendous pressures on companies to increase their efficiency and effectiveness and, even more fundamentally, the creativity that they bring to product/process improvements and development Andriopoulos & Lowe, 2000, Cummings & Oldham, 1997 and Tierney et al., 1999. This development also has motivated efforts by practitioners and scholars to identify factors that can stimulate creative behaviors in groups and organizations. For example, Amabile (1998) has identified three factors as being important: individuals' intellectual capacity (creative thinking skills), expertise based on past experience, and a creativity-conducive work environment. Oldham and Cummings (1996) also have identified creativity-relevant personal attributes as well as characteristics of the organizational context like job complexity, supportive supervision, and controlling supervision. Among the factors that influence employees' creative behaviors and performance, leadership has been identified by many researchers as being one of the most, if not the most, important Amabile, 1998, Jung, 2001 and Mumford & Gustafson, 1988. These scholars suggest that leaders can affect followers' creativity in both direct and indirect ways. An example of a direct effect is leaders catering to followers' intrinsic motivation and higher level needs, which are known to be important sources of creativity (Tierney et al., 1999). Indirectly, leaders can support creativity by establishing a work environment that encourages employees to try out different approaches without worrying about being punished just because outcomes are negative (Amabile, Conti, Coon, Lazenby, & Herron, 1996). While extant research has contributed useful insights into the determinants of employee creative behaviors and performance, its ability to guide practice is limited by the predominance of studies with a focus on the individual employee level. Although understanding individual employees' creativity and creative work processes is worthwhile, a more important concern for organizations is how to mobilize creativity among employees for the development and production of novel, socially valued products and/or services (Mumford & Gustafson, 1988). Unless the creative behaviors of individual employees can be coordinated and their creative outputs and ideas are harnessed to yield such organizational-level outcomes, the company still would be left without effective responses to the challenges of a competitive marketplace. As for the role of leadership, empirical studies also have tended to examine its effects at the individual level rather than that of the organization. A further limitation on the generalizability and external validity of extant findings is the predominant use of experimental settings and/or subjective measures of creativity (e.g., subjective supervisor ratings). In view of the current state of the literature, this study explores how leadership affects creativity at the level of the organization. The type of leadership considered in this study is a set of behaviors that has come to be labeled “transformational leadership.” Transformational leadership emphasizes longer-term and vision-based motivational processes (Bass & Avolio, 1997) and has been the subject of extensive research in the past decade. Yet, despite the potential for a transformational leader to positively impact organizational creativity, little empirical research has investigated the existence and nature of this link (Mumford, Scott, Gaddis, & Strange, 2002). Because leaders define the context in which their followers interact and work toward a common goal, we believe that previous findings of a positive link between transformational leadership and individual creativity can be extrapolated to an organizational level. Ultimately, this is an empirical question, and we provide some preliminary findings bearing on the efficacy of our expectation. The remainder of this article is organized as follows. The next section provides an overview of the relevant literature as the basis for specifying four hypotheses. Then, the method is discussed followed by presentation of the findings. The final section provides a summary and discusses implications for future research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Prior research has suggested that top managers' leadership styles can significantly impact an organization's creativity and innovative ability. A major avenue whereby this positive impact arises is held to be the establishment of an organizational climate that empowers employees and provides support for innovation. We have integrated extant discussions of leadership to propose four sets of hypotheses about how transformation leadership shown by top executives directly and indirectly affects innovation at the collective level of the organization. We also have provided preliminary research findings on the efficacy of these hypotheses. Findings based on 32 Taiwanese companies provide support for our expectation that a direct and positive relationship exists between transformational leadership and organizational innovation. We also find positive and significant relationships between transformational leadership and empowerment as well as support for innovation and a positive relationship between support for innovation and organizational innovation. These results support our proposition that transformational leadership by the top manager can enhance organizational innovation directly and also indirectly by creating an organizational culture in which employees are encouraged to freely discuss and try out innovative ideas and approaches. While our study did not examine how specific transformational behaviors affected organizational innovation, certain types of transformational leadership behaviors (e.g., inspiration motivation or intellectual motivation) have been specifically identified by several researchers as being positively related to creativity (e.g., Sosik et al., 1997). For example, organizations such as 3M and Qualcomm have been singled out as ones in which employees are constantly challenged to be creative, and it is held that this approach has enabled them to achieve many innovative and successful business outcomes, including superior technologies and more advanced products than those of competitors (Sosik, Jung, Berson, Dionne, & Jaussi, in press). Because many aspects of leadership behavior can be learned or modified, our findings suggest that organizations can improve their innovativeness by helping managers to develop and display transformational leadership behaviors through training and mentoring processes. We also found that the link between empowerment and organizational innovation was negative rather than positive. This finding implies that companies, which delegate more autonomy to employees, are less rather than more innovative. Two factors may help to explain this unexpected finding in the context of our study. First is that all of our sample companies had come from Taiwan, where cultural values are relatively high in power distance (Hofstede, 1997). Within this type of culture, employees tend to prefer having top managers take more control of the work process and to lead by example (Chow, Shields, & Wu, 1999). As such, employees with a high power distance cultural disposition may feel confused when left alone to figure out what they need to do and how to accomplish their goals. Because undertaking innovative approaches to work typically requires making risky decisions, empowerment per se, if not accompanied by guidance and some measure of structure, could lead to negative consequences in a high power distance culture. Second, and not totally independent of the possible role of power distance, our finding may underline a general need for transformational leaders to maintain a balance between letting people feel empowered and providing guidance via defining goals and agenda. Creative work processes often involve a complicated process of pulling available resources together to recognize current market trends, focus on the core message and strategy, and develop people in line with the strategy (Schein, 1992). Unless the leader plays an active role in providing guidance, coordinating and supporting these activities, employees or organizational units might wind up working at cross-purposes. Indeed, several studies have found a positive relationship between leaders' initiation of work structure and performance of creative activities (i.e., Keller, 1992). At the same time, the importance of allowing room for individual experimentation and initiative is emphasized by Mumford et al. (2002), who state that “…planning by leaders should not focus on the conduct of a specific piece of work. Rather, leaders' planning should focus on progress, the general types of projects that should be pursued, and the consequences of pursuing project results into development” (p. 716). Future research could fruitfully explore whether our finding on the link between empowerment and organizational innovation would differ in a low power distance culture and whether there is an effect due to the balance between empowerment and specificity of guidance provided by the top manager. Although we have found several encouraging results, it is important to recognize that the current findings also have several limitations. These limitations caution against immediate acceptance of the findings as a guide to action and present opportunities for replication and validation in future research. First, it is desirable to expand the size of the sample. Although we were able to use PLS to accommodate our relatively small sample size (e.g., see House et al., 1991), using data from a larger number of companies will permit more powerful hypothesis tests. For example, we surmise that the lack of statistical significance for our tests of moderating effects may be an artifact of our small sample size. Obtaining a larger sample will help to assess the validity of this conjecture. In addition, having only one respondent for each variable did not allow us to test within-group agreement. This could be an important issue because the extant leadership literature has indicated that different followers/employees may have different perceptions about their superior's leadership style and organizational culture (Klein & House, 1995). One direction in which we are currently extending this study is collecting data from multiple raters on the measured variables to address the issue of within-organization agreement. Second, all of our sample companies had come from one industry (electronics/telecommunications). Although this sample helped to control for industry effects, it also precluded discovery of factors and relationships that may differ across industries. For example, companies from different industries may face different degrees of environmental and technological uncertainty, which may affect the relative importance of efficiency versus innovation and, accordingly, the companies' competitive priorities and foci. Third, our study has only examined the role of transformational leadership in establishing/maintaining a creativity-inducing work environment (e.g., empowerment and support for innovation). Yet, the behaviors of organizational members occur in a far more complex environment involving many additional factors. Besides being guided and motivated by the leader's behavior and organizational culture, employees' behaviors also are a function of the performance measurement and reward system (e.g., whether performance is individual based or team based, the use of short-term vs. long-term performance measures, the mix of financial and nonfinancial measures, and the extent of performance-based rewards). Employees' willingness to experiment and take risks also may depend on the tightness of the resource and time constraints that they face at work. In turn, these aspects of the work environment may be affected by the extent to which superiors permit subordinate participation in establishing budgets and performance standards and in the latter's performance evaluation. Fourth, attention should be devoted to expanding and refining measurement of the dependent variable. While the three proxies that we used have precedents in the literature, they seem far short of fully operationalizing the organizational innovation construct. In particular, it might be argued that R&D expenditures more appropriately reflect an organization's willingness to support innovative efforts than its success in generating outcomes. While the number of patents successfully obtained probably does reflect innovation success, many organizational innovations may not be of the type that lends itself to patent applications. This may be particularly true, for example, with improvements in services and work processes, time-to-market of new products, or ways of measuring and rewarding performance. Finally, this study has focused on the organization as a whole, although we believe that a similar mode of reasoning should apply at the level of organizational subunits. The leader of each organizational subunit typically has some control over his/her unit's operations, and it is reasonable that his/her leadership behaviors should impact the motivations and work processes of subordinates and, through that, the unit's innovation performance. As with our extending the prior literature from the individual to the organizational level, whether such an expectation is valid is an empirical question. Future studies can fruitfully examine this issue based on a cross-level analysis that encompasses leadership styles, followers' personal and motivational characteristics, group norms, and various organizational and environmental characteristics as discussed above. These limitations notwithstanding, we believe that the present study has made a meaningful contribution to the current literature. While empirical research has examined many determinants of creativity and innovation, leadership has been relatively understudied despite its wide acceptance among leadership scholars as being a key contributor to creative performance in organizations (Mumford et al., 2002). As Dess and Picken (2000) have emphasized, the 21st century business environment will require organizations to continuously innovate by harnessing the collective knowledge, skills, and creative efforts of their employees. Transformational leadership can be an effective part of the response, and to our knowledge, our study is the first one to have examined how transformational leadership is associated with innovative organizational climate and firm innovation from a macrolevel perspective and with multisource data collection.