How leadership and public service motivation enhance innovative behavior

Qing Miao, Alexander Newman, Gary Schwarz, Brian Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

143 Citations (Scopus)


Prior research has linked the innovative behavior of public sector employees to desirable outcomes such as improved efficiency and higher public service quality. However, questions regarding the drivers of innovative behavior among employees have received limited attention. This article employs psychological empowerment theory to examine the underlying processes by which entrepreneurial leadership and public service motivation (PSM) shape innovative behavior among civil servants. Based on three-wave data from 281 Chinese civil servants and their 59 department heads, entrepreneurial leadership is found to positively influence subordinates' innovative behavior by enhancing two dimensions of psychological empowerment: meaning and impact. Additionally, PSM was found to influence subordinates' innovative behavior by enhancing the dimensions of meaning and competence. These findings suggest that to facilitate innovative behavior among employees, public organizations should consider introducing training that encourages leaders to serve as entrepreneurial role models and recruit employees with high levels of PSM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-81
Number of pages11
JournalPublic Administration Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018

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