Based on the upper echelons and organisational identification theories, this paper focuses on the relationship between servant leadership and firm innovativeness, as well as the underlying mechanisms that explain this relationship. More specifically, we analyse the relationship between servant leadership, firm innovativeness and corporate social responsibility to employees (CSRE).
A total of 285 Spanish firms took part in the study, and 570 questionnaires were gathered. Structural equation modelling was used to validate the proposed hypotheses.
Results suggest that servant leadership has a positive relationship with firm innovativeness, and this relationship is fully mediated by CSRE.
HR managers have an overall view of their company and of the behaviour of other leaders. However, future research should also consider employees perceptions. The present study is cross-sectional, and it would be interesting to study the development of the interaction between leaders and followers, which calls for longitudinal and multilevel studies.
According to our results, managers could foster firm innovativeness if they select and promote leaders who display the different leadership behaviours related to servant leadership: empowerment, servitude, accountability, courage, authenticity, humility and stewardship. Moreover, training programmes should also foster these behaviours.
Few empirical studies analyse the relationship between servant leadership and innovation. The main contribution of the present research is to further the current knowledge of this relationship by disentangling the mediating role of corporate social responsibility to employees.
The authors thank the University Jaume I (Ref. P1.1B2013-14 and Ref. UJI-A2017-05) and the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Ref. ECO2011-26780) for its financial support for this research.
Mallén Broch, F.F., Domínguez Escrig, E., Chiva Gómez, R. and Lapiedra Alcamí, R. (2020), "Promoting firm innovativeness through servant leadership and corporate social responsibility to employees", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 41 No. 4, pp. 615-633. https://doi.org/10.1108/LODJ-03-2019-0127Download as .RIS
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited