Innovation-oriented leadership, contingencies and outcomes in the multiple stages of innovation process

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

Innovation-oriented leadership, contingencies and outcomes in the multiple stages of innovation process

 

Author: Kong, Hao
Title: Innovation-oriented leadership, contingencies and outcomes in the multiple stages of innovation process
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2012
Subject: Leadership.
Technological innovations -- Management.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Management and Marketing
Pages: 192 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2551313
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/6822
Abstract: Innovation is a process of related activities that can be grouped into stages. This process starts from idea generation, progresses further by idea promotion, and ends with idea implementation. Employee performance at each stage of innovation will be influenced by different factors because the requirements and targets of each stage vary. Leadership is argued to be one of the most immediate and potent forces that encourage innovation among followers. At different stages, leaders deemed effective in motivating followers to be innovative may exhibit a different range of qualities and behaviors. In spite of the leader's prominent role in innovation, according to the substitute of leadership theory (SLT), certain features of the person, situation, or task can reduce or even replace the effects of leadership on innovation. Team learning behavior (TLB), work contacts, and team initiative are conceptually associated with idea generation, idea promotion, and idea implementation, respectively. These factors jointly influence innovation with leadership behaviors. Given the importance of leadership in innovation, most of the existing leadership theories, nevertheless, are not comprehensive in light of the multistage nature of the innovation process. Some of the models may arguably be more appropriate at the idea generation stage, whereas some may be more appropriate at the promotion or implementation stage. Through a combination of literature search and in-depth interviews, Study 1 identified 57 innovation-oriented leadership behaviors that influence followers to fulfill the objective of innovation and respond to the call for a comprehensive but distinctive model of leadership for innovation. Exploratory factor analysis was performed and three factors were extracted. Twenty-four leadership behaviors were categorized into three dimensions, namely, leadership behaviors for idea generation, idea promotion, and idea implementation.
Study 2 examined the effectiveness of innovation-oriented leadership as a whole on the overall innovation of followers by combining the three dimensions of leadership behaviors specific to each innovation stage. The results suggested that the effect of innovation-oriented leadership on innovation is stronger than that of transformational leadership. Innovation-oriented leadership behaviors specific to idea generation, idea promotion, and idea implementation were also associated with their increased corresponding innovative performances. Furthermore, SLT was used to explain in what way TLB, work contacts, and team initiative influence the positive relationship between leadership and its corresponding outcomes. TLB, work contacts, and team initiative reduced the effectiveness of leadership on the outcomes and were thus qualified as substitutes. In addition to verifying the results of Study 2, Study 3 extended the findings by incorporating objective measures of innovation (quantity and quality of innovation) and involving line workers, a sample different from knowledge workers in Study 2. The findings of Study 3 showed that innovation-oriented leadership as a whole not only enhances leader-rated innovative work behaviors, but also increases the quantity of innovation, an effect which transformational leadership cannot accomplish. Leadership behaviors for idea promotion and implementation were related to the correspondent innovative behaviors of employees. Work contacts and team initiative were found to act as substitutes for leadership behaviors.

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