Mediating role of employee emotions in the relationship between authentic leadership and employee innovation

Juanmei Zhou1, Yuera Ma1, Weibo Cheng1, Bing Xia1
1School of Business, Central South University, People’s Republic of China
Cite this article:  Zhou, J. , Ma, Y. , Cheng, W. , & Xia, B. (2014). Mediating role of employee emotions in the relationship between authentic leadership and employee innovation. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 42, 1267-1278.

Volume 42 Issue 8 | e4039 | Published: September 2014 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2014.42.8.1267

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Although researchers emphasize that the construct of authentic leadership (AL) is relevant to resolving different kinds of failures and inadequacies of leadership, it remains unknown whether or not, and how, authentic leadership style intrinsically evokes employees’ innovation. Using multilevel data from 76 teams sourced from 5 enterprises in China, we applied hierarchical linear modeling and found a positive relationship between AL and employees’ innovation. Employees’ positive emotions were found to have a mediating effect in this relationship, whereas employees’ negative emotions did not act as a mediator. Our study results extend AL theory by revealing the cross-level effects of authentic leadership, and provide practical implications to help leaders perform relevant interventions in promoting employee innovation.

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