Linking transformational leadership and employee creativity in the hospitality industry: The influences of creative role identity, creative self-efficacy, and job complexity

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    ing Tsai , Ming-Tien TsaiaDepartment of Business Administration, National ChenbCollege of Commerce, Wuyi University, No. 16, Wuyi R

    y in theadic dave inu-efcacropose

    Received 6 December 2012Accepted 20 May 2013

    lationships among transformational leadership, creative role identity, creative self-efcacy, jobcomplexity and creativity. Structural equation modeling (SEM) with bootstrapping estimation was

    . All rights reserved.

    provide high quality services (Claver-Cortes, Molina-Azorin, &Pereira-Moliner, 2006). Therefore, an increasing amount ofattention has been paid to exploring the antecedents of employeecreativity, which is required to generate novel ideas for newproducts, services and process, especially in the eld of hospitality

    05; Horng & Lee,in, 2008; Wong &ior, such as thatheory, has beenity (Shin & Zhou,

    2003). Transformational supervisors motivate employees to ach-ieve goals by higher-level self-reinforcement, instead of bydeveloping reciprocal exchange relationships with them (Bass,Avolio, & Goodheim, 1987; Bass & Steidlmeier, 1999). In contrastto a focus on external rewards, transformational leadership adoptsapproaches consistent with social cognitive theory (Bandura,1986), and supports the view that self-regulation is the mainmotivator to foster specic employee behaviors. As a result, therst objective of this study was to integrate the theories of

    * Corresponding author. Tel.: 886 6 2757575x53321; fax: 886 6 2080179.

    Contents lists available at

    Tourism Ma


    Tourism Management 40 (2014) 79e89E-mail address: (C.-J. Wang).tality context. 2013 Elsevier Ltd

    1. Introduction

    As people spend more time to improve their leisure lives, rmsin the hospitality industry are now immersed in a highlycompetitive environment and need a more creative work-force to

    research (Amabile, Barsade, Mueller, & Staw, 202009; Robinson & Beesley, 2010; Wong & LadkPang, 2003). For example, leadership behavhighlighted in transformational leadership texamined for its links with employee creativJob complexity and employee creativity. Specically, job complexity was found to moderate the relationship betweentransformational leadership and employee creative role identity, the relationship between employeecreative role identity and creative self-efcacy, and the relationship between employee creative self-efcacy and creativity. We discuss the implications of these results for research and practice in hospi-Keywords:Transformational leadershipCreativityCreative role identityCreative self-efcacy

    conducted using data from 395 supervisoreemployee dyads from international tourist hotels in Taiwan.The results show that supervisors transformational leadership positively inuenced employee creativeself-efcacy and creativity. Moreover, creative role identity was found to mediate the relationship be-tween transformational leadership and employee creative self-efcacy, while both creative role identityand creative self-efcacy were found to mediate the relationship between transformational leadershiph i g h l i g h t s

    A model links leadership and creativit Based on 395 supervisoreemployee dy Transformational leadership has positi Creative role identity and creative self Job complexity is a moderator in the p

    a r t i c l e i n f o

    Article history:0261-5177/$ e see front matter 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Kung University, No. 1, University Road, Tainan City 70100, Taiwanoad, Wuyishan, Fujian 354300, China

    hospitality industry.ta from international tourist hotels in Taiwan.ences on employee creativity.y are mediators in the proposed model.d model.

    a b s t r a c t

    Integrating transformational leadership, creativity and social cognitive theories, we explore the re-Chung-Jen Wang a,*, Huei-T a bLinking transformational leadership andhospitality industry: The inuences of cself-efcacy, and job complexity

    journal homepage: www.eAll rights reserved.mployee creativity in theative role identity, creative

    SciVerse ScienceDirect


    evier .com/locate/ tourman

  • accomplish a collective goal. Intellectual stimulation refers to aleader inspiring the questioning of assumptions, reframing prob-lems, and stimulating employees by raising their intellectual curi-osity and encouraging the adoption of novel approaches. Finally,individualized consideration involves understanding and appreci-ating the development and needs of different employees (Basset al., 1987; Bass & Steidlmeier, 1999; Sosik, Avolio, & Kahai, 1997).

    The transformational leadership style can thus provide em-ployees with useful feedback, encourage them to make additionalefforts to achieve novel solutions, and boost their intrinsic motiva-tion to think creatively (Gumusluoglu & Ilsev, 2009; Shin & Zhou,2003; Sosik et al., 1997). Most important of all, supervisors with atransformational leadership style can motivate employees to ach-ieve goals by higher-level self-reinforcement, instead of by devel-oping reciprocal exchange relationshipswith them (Bass et al.,1987;Bass & Steidlmeier, 1999). Accordingly, Amabile et al. (2004) pro-posed that leader behavior is a key feature of thework environment

    Mantransformational leadership and creativity in the context of thehospitality industry.

    In addition to investigating the contribution of transformationalleadership to employee creativity, a review of the literature showsthat few recent studies have emphasized the importance of thecritical mediators between these two variables. Using a socialcognitive theory perspective (Bandura, 1986; Bandura & Locke,2003), Tierney and Farmer (2011) demonstrated that creative roleidentity and creative self-efcacy are positively related to employeecreativity. Creative role identity reects whether an individualviews himself/herself as a creative person (Farmer, Tierney, & Kung-McIntyre, 2003), and creative self-efcacy reects to what degreean individual believe he/she has the ability to produce creativeoutcomes (Tierney & Farmer, 2002). Based on these earlier works,we adopted creative role identity and creative self-efcacy as twomediators between transformational leadership and individualcreativity in a three-path mediation model. Meanwhile, we alsofurther developed an integrated theory by testing this long medi-ating chain. According to the results based on data from 395 su-pervisoreemployee dyads from international tourist hotels inTaiwan, transformational leadership has signicant direct in-uences on employee creative self-efcacy and creativity, and atthe same time, has a signicant indirect inuence on employeecreative self-efcacy via the mediator of creative role identity, aswell as has a signicant indirect inuence on employee creativityvia the mediators of both creative role identity and creative self-efcacy.

    Moreover, as job complexity is an important contextual factorthat inuences employee creativity (Oldham & Cummings, 1996),employees in complex jobs tend to express greater intrinsicmotivation to foster creativity than those in routine and simplejobs (Amabile, 1988; Oldham & Cummings, 1996; Shalley, Zhou, &Oldham, 2004). The results of our empirical study indicate thatthere are stronger relationships between transformational lead-ership and creative role identity for front line group than for backofce group, as well as between creative role identity and crea-tive self-efcacy, and between creative self-efcacy and crea-tivity. In other words, employees in complex jobs, such as frontline work, can have more recognition of their creative roleidentity, more condence in their creative self-efcacy, and abetter focus on creative ideas, while those in routine jobs, suchas back ofce work, may have less recognition of their creativerole identity, less condence in their creative self-efcacy, andhave more constraints with regard to the development ofcreativity.

    Overall, this study contributes to the literature by conceptuallyand empirically linking transformational leadership, creativity andsocial cognitive theories using the variables of transformationalleadership, creative role identity, creative self-efcacy, creativity,and job complexity in an integrated model. The results of thisresearch also add to a more comprehensive understanding oftransformational leadership as it relates to employee creativeoutcomes in the context of hospitality.

    2. Theory and hypotheses

    This section rst examines the direct effects of transformationalleadership on employee creative self-efcacy and creativity. It thenexamines the linkages and indirect inuences among trans-formational leadership, creative role identity, creative self-efcacy,and employee creativity. Finally, it investigates the moderatingroles of job complexity in the relationships between trans-formational leadership and creative role identity, between creativerole identity and creative self-efcacy, and between creative self-

    C.-J. Wang et al. / Tourism80efcacyandcreativity. Thehypothesizedmodel is illustrated in Fig.1.2.1. Transformational leadership and creativity

    Creativity means the capability to produce novel ideas oreffective solutions to problems (Amabile, 1983, 1988), and organi-zations with creative employees can thus create extra value andmaintain competition advantages in a dynamic business environ-ment (Amabile et al., 2005; Amabile, Conti, Coon, Lazenby, &Herron, 1996; George, 2007). Since the eld of hospitality is laborintensive, it is necessary to have a more creative work-force todeliver better knowledge-intensive business services to travelersand achieve high levels of customer satisfaction (Mohsin & Lockyer,2010; Robinson & Beesley, 2010; Wong & Pang, 2003). In addition,recent studies suggest that work environment factors, such asstyles of leadership, may inuence the creative behaviors of em-ployees (Amabile, Schatzel, Moneta, & Kramer, 2004; Shalley &Gilson, 2004). Burns (1978) proposed that leadership can betransactional or transformational leadership. Supervisors withtransactional leadership can inuence their employees by estab-lishing clear goals and providing valuable rewards in a reciprocalexchange relationship, while supervisors with transformationalleadership can inuence their employees by broadening estab-lished goals and helping to boost their condence at work (Bass,1990; Dvir, Eden, Avolio, & Shamir, 2002). Moreover, Bass andSteidlmeier (1999) theorized that transformational leadership iscomposed of four behaviors: idealized inuence, inspirationalmotivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consider-ation. Idealized inuence, or charisma, refers to a leader being acharismatic role model for employees, positively affecting theirperceptions and behaviors. Inspirational motivation refers to aleader fostering employees desire to work cooperatively to




    Transformational leadership

    Creativity Creative role identity Creative







    Control Variables

    Job complexity

    Fig. 1. The hypothesized model.

    agement 40 (2014) 79e89for creativity, while these denitions imply that transformational

  • Manleadership can positively inuence employees creativity, as it pro-motes employee motivation to challenge old ways of doing things(Gong, Huang, & Farh, 2009; Shin& Zhou, 2003). In addition, asrmsin the hospitality industry aim to increase the satisfaction of cus-tomers, transformational supervisors can encourage the desire ofcreative people to provide better quality services, and thus help todevelop and maintain competitive advantages (Mohsin & Lockyer,2010; Ogaard, Marnburg, & Larsen, 2008). For instance, Gong et al.(2009) found that individual learning orientation and trans-formational leadership were positively related to creativity, andthese relationships were mediated by employee creative self-efcacy. Sosik et al. (1997) evaluated the effects of different leader-ship styles in a longitudinal laboratory experiment, and the resultsindicated that transformational leadership hadmorepositive effectson group effectiveness than transactional leadership. Similarly,Gumusluoglu and Ilsev (2009) proposed that transformationalleadership has positively impacts onboth the individual creativityofemployees and organizational innovation. Since a number ofempirical studies have provided rm evidence of a strong correla-tion between transformational leadership and individual creativity,we propose the following hypothesis:

    Hypothesis 1. Transformational leadership is positively related toemployee creativity.

    2.2. Transformational leadership and creative self-efcacy

    Based on social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1986), Tierney andFarmer (2002) developed the concept of creative self-efcacy, andthis refers to the degree towhich individuals believe in their abilityto generate creative outcomes. As self-efcacy in creative activitiesis a key attribute of being creative at work, employees can thusincrease engagement in creative behavior when they feel a highlevel of condence in their self-efcacy for creativity (Gong et al.,2009; Tierney & Farmer, 2002, 2011). Prior studies have sug-gested that leadership style can be one of the contextual factors toenhance creativity related activities (Amabile et al., 2005; Shalley &Gilson, 2004). Moreover, transformational leadership adopts ap-proaches that are consistent with social cognitive theory (Bandura,1986), and supports the view that self-regulation is the one of themain motivators to promote specic employee behaviors. As aresult, it is possible that transformational leadership raises em-ployees independent thinking abilities via enhancing their creativeself-efcacy (Gong et al., 2009; Gumusluoglu & Ilsev, 2009). Fromthis perspective, supervisors with transformational leadership inservice organizations can thus stimulate employees condence tosuccessfully achieve knowledge-intensive business services withmore creative thinking and novel approaches (Bass & Steidlmeier,1999; Wong & Pang, 2003). For example, Walumbwa and Hartnell(2011) examined a sample of 426 employees from a large auto-mobile dealership, and the results showed the existence of positiverelationships between transformational leadership and self-efcacy, and thus increased employee performance. Hon (2011)adopted a multi-level analysis and found social-contextual vari-ables, such as transformational leadership, were positively associ-ated with employee self-concordance of creativity based on hotelindustry data in Mainland China. Similarly, Gong et al. (2009) foundemployee learning orientation and transformational leadershipwere positively related to employee creative self-efcacy in a sur-vey of 200 insurance agents. These results suggest that employeecreative self-efcacy is strongly and positively affected by trans-formational leadership, and thus we propose the followinghypothesis:

    Hypothesis 2. Transformational leadership is positively related to

    C.-J. Wang et al. / Tourismemployee creative self-efcacy.2.3. The mediating roles of creative role identity and creative self-efcacy

    Creative role id...


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