How to Enable Employee Creativity in a Team Context: A Cross-level Mediating Process of Transformational Leadership

Yuntao Bai, Li Lin, Peter Ping Li

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    Employee creativity is critical to organizations' growth and is largely dependent on team dynamics. However, teams generally fail to encourage members to share their diverse knowledge, especially those that may cause disagreement among team members, as conflict often occurs in a team context. However, the issue of how to enhance employee creativity from the perspective of team leader in a team context is largely understudied. This study aims to explore the cross-level links between the transformational behavior of team leader and employee creativity in a team context. We propose a three-path cross-level mediating model in which two critical team-level process variables, i.e., team conflict and knowledge sharing, are involved. Using multi-level structural equation modeling, we found that team conflict and knowledge sharing served as two sequential mediators between the cross-level links. This study highlights the critical role of transformational leadership as across-level enabler for employee creativity.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Business Research
    Issue number9
    Pages (from-to)3240–3250
    Number of pages11
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Transformational leadership
    • Creativity
    • Team conflict
    • Knowledge Sharing

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