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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01767

The Effects of Servant Leadership, Meaningful Work and Job Autonomy on Innovative Work Behavior in Chinese High-Tech Firms: A Moderated Mediation Model

  • 1Department of Management and Organization, VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 2Department of Science, Business & Innovation, VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands

While scholars acknowledge the critical role of employee innovative work behavior (IWB) in facilitating organizational innovation in the high-tech industry, current knowledge is far from complete to specifically paint a clear picture of how to evoke employee IWB in Chinese high-tech industry sectors. Drawing on a dynamic componential model of creativity and innovation, this study proposes and tests a moderated mediation model that examines the positive influence of servant leadership on employee IWB via meaningful work as well as the moderating role of job autonomy in this process. We collected data (N=288) from three Chinese high-tech firms and found that employees’ perceptions of meaningful work mediate the relationship between servant leaders and IWB. We also found that this mediating relationship is conditional to the moderating role of job autonomy in the path from servant leadership to meaningful work. The results further show that the indirect effect of servant leadership on employee IWB via meaningful work exists only when job autonomy is high.

Keywords: servant leadership, Meaningful work, job autonomy, Innovative work behavior, High-tech Firms

Received: 01 May 2018; Accepted: 31 Aug 2018.

Edited by:

Ronald H. Humphrey, Lancaster University, United Kingdom

Reviewed by:

Chris Myburgh, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Shiri Lavy, University of Haifa, Israel  

Copyright: © 2018 Cai, Lysova, Khapova and Bossink. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Wenjing Cai, VU University Amsterdam, Department of Management and Organization, Amsterdam, Netherlands,