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Trickle-Down Effects of Perceived Leader Integrity on Employee Creativity: A Moderated Mediation Model

Abstract

This study explored the relationship between the integrity of the supervisor and the manager (i.e., the supervisor’s immediate superior) and the creativity of employees who are below the supervisor. Drawing on social learning theory, we proposed a moderated mediation model for the trickle-down effects of perceived supervisor integrity. Using a sample of 716 employees and their supervisors, we found positive associations between both managers’ and supervisors’ integrity and employee creativity. Supervisors’ integrity partially mediates the relationship between managers’ integrity and employee creativity. In addition, supervisors’ perceptions of professional ethical standards moderate the indirect effects of the managers’ integrity on employee creativity. Theoretical and managerial implications are discussed.

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Notes

  1. In this paper, we labeled three hierarchical levels as manager, supervisor, and employee in accordance with Mawritz et al. (2012) usage. Specifically, the term supervisor refers to front-line managers who hold in lower-level management positions. The term employee refers to the supervisor’s subordinates who report to the supervisor and typically at the lowest level in the company. The term manager refers to the supervisor’s immediate boss.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 71272070) and the National Social Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 1509093) for their financial support.

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Correspondence to Feng Wei.

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He Peng and Feng Wei have contributed equally to this project, and thus the order of authorship is alphabetical.

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Peng, H., Wei, F. Trickle-Down Effects of Perceived Leader Integrity on Employee Creativity: A Moderated Mediation Model. J Bus Ethics 150, 837–851 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3226-3

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Keywords

  • Employee creativity
  • Leader integrity
  • Professional ethical standards
  • Social learning
  • Trickle-down