Servant leadership and innovative work behavior in Chinese high-tech firms: A moderated mediation model of meaningful work and job autonomy

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Abstract

Scholars acknowledge the critical role of employee innovative work behavior (IWB) in facilitating organizational innovation in high-tech industries. However, the current knowledge is far from complete to paint a clear picture of how to evoke employee IWB in the Chinese high-tech industry. Many Chinese high-tech firms face a challenge moving from hierarchy-based leadership toward more employee-centered leadership styles, as the styles have different effects on employees' IWB. This perspective may complement and sharpen the incomplete picture. Drawing on a dynamic componential model of creativity and innovation, this study proposes and tests a moderated mediation model that examines the hypothesized positive influence of servant leadership on employee IWB via meaningful work as well as the moderating role of job autonomy in this process. We collected data (N = 288) from three Chinese high-tech firms and found that employees' perceptions of meaningful work mediate the relationship between servant leaders and IWB. We also found that this mediating relationship is conditional on the moderating role of job autonomy in the path from servant leadership to meaningful work. The results further show that the indirect effect of servant leadership on employee IWB via meaningful work exists only when job autonomy is high.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1767
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume9
Issue numberOctober
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018

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Industry
Organizational Innovation
Paint
Creativity

Keywords

  • High-tech firms
  • Innovative work behavior
  • Job autonomy
  • Meaningful work
  • Servant leadership

Cite this

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abstract = "Scholars acknowledge the critical role of employee innovative work behavior (IWB) in facilitating organizational innovation in high-tech industries. However, the current knowledge is far from complete to paint a clear picture of how to evoke employee IWB in the Chinese high-tech industry. Many Chinese high-tech firms face a challenge moving from hierarchy-based leadership toward more employee-centered leadership styles, as the styles have different effects on employees' IWB. This perspective may complement and sharpen the incomplete picture. Drawing on a dynamic componential model of creativity and innovation, this study proposes and tests a moderated mediation model that examines the hypothesized positive influence of servant leadership on employee IWB via meaningful work as well as the moderating role of job autonomy in this process. We collected data (N = 288) from three Chinese high-tech firms and found that employees' perceptions of meaningful work mediate the relationship between servant leaders and IWB. We also found that this mediating relationship is conditional on the moderating role of job autonomy in the path from servant leadership to meaningful work. The results further show that the indirect effect of servant leadership on employee IWB via meaningful work exists only when job autonomy is high.",
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