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Empowering leadership and the influence of a humorous work climate on service employees' creativity and innovative behaviour in frontline service jobs

Terje Slåtten (Department of Tourism, Lillehammer University College, Lillehammer, Norway)
Göran Svensson (Oslo School of Management, Oslo, Norway)
Sander Sværi (Oslo School of Management, Oslo, Norway)

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences

ISSN: 1756-669X

Article publication date: 18 October 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe and explain the relationships between empowering leadership and a humorous work climate; and service employees' creativity and innovative behaviour in frontline service jobs.

Design/methodology/approach

A model of causal relationships is presented, along with formulated hypotheses. The data were collected with a survey answered by frontline service employees in hotels.

Findings

The findings indicate a strong relationship between frontline cognitive creativity production of novel ideas and the behavioural implementation of these ideas into their respective work role. Moreover, the empirical findings indicate that both empowering leadership and a humorous work climate are able to trigger frontline service employees' creativity. In addition service employees' creativity appears to be a mediating variable in the relationship between empowering leadership, a humorous work climate, and the service employees' innovative behaviour.

Research limitations/implications

This study limits its focus on two factors: the stimulation of service employees' creativity and innovative behaviour in frontline service jobs, both of which offer opportunities for further research.

Practical implications

This study has indicated that both leadership practice and work climate play important roles in explaining service employees' creativity and innovative behaviour. In particular, managers should be aware of their empowering practices, as well focusing on the degree of a humorous work climate. An important practical managerial implication from the findings is to take humour into account and consequently to develop and implement strategies followed by necessary actions to manage humour in an appropriate manner in service organizations.

Originality/value

The reported study contributes to enhancing the knowledge of the roles of empowering leadership and a humorous work climate for service employees' creativity and innovative behaviour in frontline service jobs.

Keywords

Citation

Slåtten, T., Svensson, G. and Sværi, S. (2011), "Empowering leadership and the influence of a humorous work climate on service employees' creativity and innovative behaviour in frontline service jobs", International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Vol. 3 No. 3, pp. 267-284. https://doi.org/10.1108/17566691111182834

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited