Are more traditional employees less innovative? Colleagues’ and leaders’ influences matter

Qin Xu1, Fangjun Li2
1School of Economics and Management, Southeast University, People’s Republic of China
2Management School, Jinan University, People’s Republic of China
Cite this article:  Xu, Q., & Li, F. (2017). Are more traditional employees less innovative? Colleagues’ and leaders’ influences matter. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 45(4), 657-668.

Volume 45 Issue 4 | e5934 | Published: May 2017 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.5934

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We examined how the cultural value orientation of employees’ traditionality influences their innovative behaviors in a group context. Our belief was that the behavioral influence of traditionality on individual innovation would be contingent upon group traditionality and transformational leadership, as well as the combined moderating effect of these two variables. Participants were 282 employees and their 36 group leaders in a large telecommunication corporation in China. Results revealed that although traditionalists were superior to nontraditionalists in terms of individual innovation, the latter group exhibited greater potential for innovative behaviors when their colleagues were less traditional and/or when they were led by a transformational leader. Moreover, traditionalists were found to be more innovative than nontraditionalists were when group traditionality was high and transformational leadership was low. Research limitations and implications of the findings are discussed.

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