University of Oulu

VANSKA, A., & HURMELINNA-LAUKKANEN, P. (2021). ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL — LEADER–MEMBER EXCHANGE AND INNOVATIVENESS. International Journal of Innovation Management, 25:06, 2150072.

One size does not fit all : leader-member exchange and innovativeness

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Author: Vänskä, Anu1; Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, Pia1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu Business School, PO Box 4600, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: embargoed
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: World Scientific, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-06-02


Individual-level innovativeness is widely acknowledged to be critical to the success of an organisation’s innovation, and understanding the related nuances is therefore important. The goal of this study is to add to existing knowledge on how managerial characteristics influence employee innovativeness. Specifically, we address the role of leader–member exchange (LMX) in predicting the three components of employee innovative work behaviour (IWB) — idea generation, idea promotion, and idea implementation. LMX denotes the quality of the relationship between an employee and his/her immediate supervisor and is a significant predictor of many employee attitudes and behaviours. Studies examining the direct and joint effects of LMX and other organisational characteristics on employee creativity and employee IWB have shown the LMX construct has a significant effect on employee innovativeness. However, a more nuanced view on the effects of LMX on the various components of IWB — idea generation, idea promotion, and idea implementation — is missing. Moreover, most research to date on LMX and innovation has focused on the potential linear connections between LMX and employee innovation-related outcomes, leaving the possible opportunities associated with low-quality LMX under-explored. This is a shortcoming, as a growing body of literature demonstrates that, under specific conditions, not only high but also low-quality LMX can be conducive for various employee outcomes. Analysing survey data collected from 93 employees of a knowledge-intensive service company, our study shows U-shaped and linear relationships between LMX and varying components of IWB. We further test an earlier presented assumption that perceived organisational support for innovation may emerge as a powerful contextual condition in relationships between employee innovativeness and its antecedents. We find that LMX and organisational support for innovation have a joint positive effect on the components of employee IWB. These findings extend innovation management theorising and provide advice for managers.

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Series: International journal of innovation management
ISSN: 1363-9196
ISSN-E: 1757-5877
ISSN-L: 1363-9196
Volume: 25
Issue: 6
Article number: 2150072
DOI: 10.1142/S1363919621500729
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 512 Business and management
Copyright information: Electronic version of an article published as International Journal of Innovation Management, © copyright World Scientific Publishing Company