How does shared leadership affect creativity in teams? A multilevel motivational investigation in the Chinese context

Qinxuan Gu, Bingqian Liang, Fang Lee Cooke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Research on leadership and creativity has primarily focused on hierarchical leadership. Based on social cognitive theory, this research sheds light on whether and how shared leadership influences creativity at different levels through a multilevel motivational mechanism. We propose that shared leadership not only motivates team potency and thus inspires team creativity at the team level, but also facilitates individual creativity through individual competence across levels. In addition, team potency promotes individual competence and fuels individual creativity across levels. Thus, team potency and individual competence play a chain-mediating role in linking shared leadership to individual creativity. The proposed model has been tested using two independent samples (Study 1 with 73 employees and Study 2 with 501 employees from 84 teams) in the Chinese context. Results from Study 1 provide preliminary support for the influence of perceived shared leadership on creativity at the individual level, whereas results from Study 2 support the proposed multilevel motivational mechanism between shared leadership and creativity at both team and individual levels. Findings offer theoretical implications for shared leadership and creativity research and provide managerial implications, especially for paternalistic societies like China, in which respect for social hierarchy remains a prevalent cultural norm.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • China
  • creativity
  • individual competence
  • motivational process
  • shared leadership
  • team potency

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