Servant leadership and employee creativity: The roles of psychological empowerment and work–family conflict

Abstract

This study builds on self-determination theory to examine the factors that impact the effects that servant leadership has on employee creativity. An observation of 460 employees from 11 banks in China revealed that (1) servant leadership is positively related to employee creativity, (2) follower psychological empowerment partially mediates the relationship between servant leadership and employee creativity, and (3) work-to-family conflict moderates the relationship between servant leadership and follower psychological empowerment, the relationship was more positive when work-to-family conflict was high, rather than low. Family-to-work conflict did not significantly affect this relationship. The findings provide a significant contribution to the psychological empowerment literature through its identification of psychological empowerment as an important psychological mediating mechanism that helps to enrich the psychological mechanism of servant leadership’s effect on employees. Additionally, the results provide a deeper understanding of boundary conditions (e.g. work-to-family conflict) for the impacts of servant leadership on employees’ individual outcomes. Furthermore, the findings enrich the work–family conflict literature by providing support for distinguishing work-to-family conflict from family-to-work conflict.

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Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant number 71702157) and the Foundation by Southwest University of Science and Technology (Grant number 17sx7104).

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Correspondence to Hefu Liu.

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Yang, J., Gu, J. & Liu, H. Servant leadership and employee creativity: The roles of psychological empowerment and work–family conflict. Curr Psychol 38, 1417–1427 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-019-0161-3

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Keywords

  • Servant leadership
  • Employee creativity
  • Psychological empowerment
  • Work-to-family conflict
  • Family-to-work conflict