Leadership, creativity and innovation: a meta-analytic review

Allan Lee, Alison Legood, David Hughes, Amy Wei Tian, Alex Newman, Caroline Knight

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This paper reports the most comprehensive meta-analytic examination of the relationship between leadership and both followers’ creative and innovative performance. Specifically, we examined 13 leadership variables (transformational, transactional, ethical, humble, leader-member exchange, benevolent, authoritarian, entrepreneurial, authentic, servant, empowering, supportive, and destructive) using data from 266 studies. In addition to providing robustly estimated correlations, we explore two theoretically and pragmatically important issues: the relative importance of the different leadership constructs and moderators of the relationship between leadership and employee creativity and innovation. Regrading creative performance, authentic, empowering, and entrepreneurial leadership demonstrated the strongest relationships. For innovative performance, both transactional (contingent reward) and supportive leadership appear particularly relevant. The current study synthesizes an important, burgeoning, diverse body of research, and in doing so, generates nuanced evidence that can be used to guide theoretical advancements, improved research designs, and up-to-date policy recommendations regarding leading for creativity, and innovation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-35
JournalEuropean Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Issue number1
Early online date15 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2019


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