Creativity under workload pressure and integrative complexity: The double-edged sword of paradoxical leadership

Yan Shao*, Bernard Nijstad, Susanne Täuber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Modern-day organizations often demand creativity, but motivating creativity under unfavorable conditions such as high workload pressure is difficult. Integrating paradox theory and social cognitive theory, we conceptualize creativity as a process that involves tensions among competing goals and demands, and those tensions become salient under high workload pressure. We propose that learning to constructively deal with such salient tensions is important for the development of creativity and that paradoxical leader behavior (PLB) may stimulate creativity by enhancing employees' creative self-efficacy (CSE) in such challenging situations. However, PLB will only promote CSE and employee creativity when employees have a high level of integrative complexity to accept and appreciate the complex and paradoxical behaviors of the leader. Based on data from 252 employee-supervisor dyads, we found that through CSE, PLB was most effective in promoting employee creativity when workload pressure and integrative complexity were both high. However, PLB was less effective for promoting CSE and creativity when workload pressure was low, or when workload pressure was high while integrative complexity was low. Implications and limitations of our research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-19
Number of pages13
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Volume155
Early online date30-Jan-2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2019

Keywords

  • Paradoxical leader behavior
  • Creativity
  • Creative self-efficacy
  • Integrative complexity
  • Workload pressure
  • Tension
  • BEST-PRACTICE RECOMMENDATIONS
  • SELF-EFFICACY
  • TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP
  • EMPLOYEE CREATIVITY
  • AMBIDEXTROUS LEADERSHIP
  • CHARISMATIC LEADERSHIP
  • STATISTICAL CONTROL
  • MEMBER EXCHANGE
  • TIME PRESSURE
  • METHOD BIAS

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