Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 159, Issue 3, pp 849–862 | Cite as

The Influence of Leaders’ Stewardship Behavior on Innovation Success: The Mediating Effect of Radical Innovation

  • Emilio Domínguez-EscrigEmail author
  • Francisco Fermín Mallén-Broch
  • Rafael Lapiedra-Alcamí
  • Ricardo Chiva-Gómez
Original Paper


As stated by previous researchers, in an increasingly competitive environment, organizations need to develop successful innovations to compete and survive in the long term. Furthermore, sustainability and social issues are gaining increasing importance, to the extent that they are now a matter of high concern for firms and for society. Therefore, organizations cannot improve their results at any price and must be responsible for the consequences of their activities, including innovation. In these conditions, a growing demand for new leadership styles and behaviors arises to face this complex context. Stewardship is a leadership behavior that shows great concern for the impact of the organization’s activity on society. A quantitative study has been conducted with the purpose of providing empirical evidence of the relationship between leaders’ stewardship behavior and innovation success, using radical innovation as an explanatory variable. To confirm the hypotheses, structural equations were used on a dataset from a sample of 300 questionnaires from Spanish companies. The study empirically validates the proposed conceptual model. Results show how radical innovation fully mediates the relationship between leaders’ stewardship behavior and innovation success.


Stewardship Leadership Radical innovation Innovation success 



This study was funded by the University Jaume I (P11B2008-13) and the Spanish Innovation Ministry (ECO2011-26780).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Emilio Domínguez Escrig, Francisco Fermín Mallén Broch, Rafael Lapiedra Alcamí, and Ricardo Chiva Gómez declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emilio Domínguez-Escrig
    • 1
    Email author
  • Francisco Fermín Mallén-Broch
    • 1
  • Rafael Lapiedra-Alcamí
    • 1
  • Ricardo Chiva-Gómez
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Administración de Empresas y MarketingUniversitat Jaume ICastellón de la PlanaSpain

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