Inspire but don't interfere

  • Managers play a pivotal role in the innovation process; yet, the mechanisms through which managers enhance or undermine innovation are not well understood. Drawing upon self-concordance theory, we argue that managers can augment employees’ self-concordance—defined as the congruence of goals and actions with inner values and preferences—through transformational behavior and thereby contribute to innovation. However, transformational behavior is closely coupled to another form of influence, namely process management, the attempt to directly manage innovation-related activities. This form of managerial influence reduces employees’ self-concordance and thereby undermines innovation. We test our conceptual model in a sample of 188 innovation projects using a contextualized method that asked employees to assess their self-concordance and their managers’ behavior during each project. Managers evaluated for each project the innovativeness of the outcome. Multi-level path-analysis provided support for our hypotheses. We discuss future research implications to disentangle innovation-facilitating and innovation-undermining facets of managerial influence.

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Author:Fabiola H. GerpottORCiD, Ronald Bledow, Jana KühnelORCiD
Parent Title (English):Applied Psychology (ISSN 1464-0597)
Subtitle (English):managerial influence as a double-edged sword for innovation
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2021/05/18
Year of first Publication:2021
Publishing Institution:WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management
Release Date:2021/05/18
Tag:Einfluss; Innovationsprojekt; Manager; Prozessmanagement; Selbstkonkordanz; Transformationelle Führung
Influence; Innovation project; Manager; Process management; Self-concordance; Transformational leadership
First Page:1
Last Page:43
Preprint submitted to Wiley
Institutes:WHU Management Group / Chair of Leadership
Licence (German):Copyright for this publication