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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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