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An empirical study of the relationship between inclusive leadership and business model innovation

Yangchun Fang (Global Institute for Zhejiang Merchants Development, School of Management, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou, China)
Xinxing Dai (School of Management, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou, China)
Xudong Zhang (School of Management, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou, China)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 23 February 2021

Issue publication date: 20 April 2021

670

Abstract

Purpose

To better understand factors that lead to business model innovation (BMI) in organizations, this study argues that inclusive leadership is the primary source that motivates employee engagement in boundary-spanning activities, which fosters BMI by generating and integrating employee knowledge through boundary-spanning exploration.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper analyzes the relationships between inclusive leadership, boundary-spanning exploration and BMI to discover how they influence each other. This is achieved by a survey of more than 30 enterprises in Zhejiang Province, China. The survey data are analyzed using SPSS.

Findings

Inclusive leaders who display characteristics of openness, accessibility and availability have a positive effect on BMI and boundary-spanning exploration; openness and accessibility have more significant positive effect on BMI and boundary-spanning exploration.

Research limitations/implications

Because this study covers only in Zhejiang Province, in China, the findings may not be easily generalizable to other contexts. Other factors, such as organizational structure and contextual characteristics, could also be added as antecedents in a future investigation. Moreover, the scales could be revised more suitable for China in the future.

Practical implications

The empirical findings can be used as guidelines for firms seeking to take advantage of inclusive leadership and to help firms motivate their employees to engage in boundary-spanning exploration to acquire, generate and integrate knowledge from diverse sources to promote BMI.

Originality/value

This study provides insights that will be of value by adding to the theoretical foundation of our understanding of the antecedents to firms' BMI. This study argues that employees' boundary-spanning exploration is important to BMI as well. Inclusive leadership is crucial to stimulate boundary-spanning exploration by employees. Therefore, how to encourage inclusive leadership in firms is well worth examining.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Funding: This research was supported by the National Social Science Fund Project of China (Grant No. 20BGL143), the Social Science Project of Zhejiang University of Technology--School Pre-research Fund Project (Grant No. SKY-ZX-20200121).

Citation

Fang, Y., Dai, X. and Zhang, X. (2021), "An empirical study of the relationship between inclusive leadership and business model innovation", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 42 No. 3, pp. 480-494. https://doi.org/10.1108/LODJ-11-2019-0484

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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