This paper aims to draw upon motivated information processing theory to examine the sequential mediating roles of perspective taking and boundary spanning between transformational leadership and the creative performance of knowledge workers.
The study was carried out on a sample, including a dyad of 398 knowledge workers and their immediate supervisors in four research institutes in southwest China. The authors tested the theoretical model using structural equation modeling (SEM) and Mplus 7.0 software.
The results support the mediation model in which perspective taking was found to significantly and positively mediate the relationship between transformational leadership and boundary spanning. Boundary spanning was found to significantly and positively mediate the relationship between perspective taking and creative performance. Moreover, both perspective taking and boundary spanning were found to mediate the relationship between transformational leadership and creative performance.
The study findings imply that the transformational leadership behaviors of managers or supervisors nurture knowledge workers' perspective taking and their boundary spanning activities leading to creative performance.
The findings contribute new knowledge to the relationship between transformational leadership and creative performance by uncovering the causal chain of a cognitive mechanism (perspective taking) with a behavioral mechanism (boundary spanning).
The first two authors contributed equally to this paper and are listed in order of increasing seniority. The authors acknowledge the financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 72072019 and No. 71533002), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of China (Grant No. ZYGX2020FRJH012). The authors thank Yuemei Wang for assistance in data analyses. Correspondence regarding this article should be addressed to Lu Chen (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Wadei, K.A., Lu, C. and Wu, W. (2021), "Unpacking the chain mediation process between transformational leadership and knowledge worker creative performance: evidence from China", Chinese Management Studies, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 483-498. https://doi.org/10.1108/CMS-03-2020-0118
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