Innovation in top management teams: Minority dissent, transformational leadership, and radical innovations

Bernard A. Nijstad*, Floor Berger-Selman, Carsten K. W. De Dreu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Research among lower level teams suggests that minority dissent stimulates team innovation. We consider the role of CEO transformational leadership in the dissent-innovation relation and study this in Top Management Teams (TMTs). We propose that transformational leaders create a psychologically safe team climate, in which dissenting opinions are used effectively to create radical innovations. Members of 36 TMTs (N = 196) completed a questionnaire to assess minority dissent, transformational leadership, and participative safety. CEOs provided data about the innovations implemented by the team. Results showed that minority dissent was positively related to the number of innovations implemented by TMTs. However, only under high levels of transformational leadership were these innovations radical. It was further found that transformational leadership had this effect because it was positively associated with participative safety. These results indicate that minorities stimulate innovativeness and that through transformational leadership CEOs can create a climate in which minority input is transformed into radical innovations. Implications for TMT performance and team innovation are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-322
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4-Mar-2014

Keywords

  • Ambidexterity
  • Innovation
  • Minority dissent
  • Team climate
  • Top management
  • Transformational leadership
  • STRATEGIC DECISION-MAKING
  • BEHAVIORAL INTEGRATION
  • INTERRATER AGREEMENT
  • PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY
  • INTRAGROUP CONFLICT
  • GROUP CREATIVITY
  • TASK CONFLICT
  • WORK-GROUPS
  • METAANALYSIS
  • PERFORMANCE

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