Journal of Business and Psychology

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 235–247 | Cite as

Transformational Leadership and Employee Creativity: The Mediating Role of Promotion Focus and Creative Process Engagement

  • Nils Henker
  • Sabine Sonnentag
  • Dana Unger



The paper aims at investigating the processes underlying the relationship between transformational leadership and employee creativity. We hypothesized that promotion focus mediates the relationship between transformational leadership and employee creativity and that creative process engagement mediates the relationship between promotion focus and employee creativity.


We conducted a three-wave longitudinal study with 279 employees and used a path-modeling approach to test our hypotheses.


Our results provide support for a sequential mediation model. Promotion focus mediated the relationship between transformational leadership and employee creativity. Creative process engagement partially mediated the relationship between promotion focus and employee creativity.


Findings of this study help to understand how transformational leadership fosters creativity by highlighting the role of promotion focus and creative process engagement. Understanding the relationship between transformational leadership and creativity helps supervisors to create a work environment that fosters employee creativity.


This study contributes to the literature by identifying the mediating mechanism for the relationship between transformational leadership and employee creativity and providing a comprehensive model that illustrates the importance of the different stages within the creative process as antecedents of employee creativity.


Transformational leadership Creativity Regulatory Focus Theory Creative process engagement 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Work and Organizational Psychology GroupUniversity of MannheimMannheimGermany

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