Tough Love and Creativity : How Authoritarian Leadership Tempered by Benevolence or Morality Influences Employee Creativity

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-324
Journal / PublicationBritish Journal of Management
Issue number2
Online published11 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


Influenced by Amabile's views on the intrinsic nature of creative motivation (T. M. Amabile (1988). A model of creativity and innovation in organizations’. In B. M. Staw and L. L. Cummings (eds), Research in Organizational Behavior, Vol. 10, pp. 123–167. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press), researchers have focused primarily on supportive leadership, with authoritarian leadership known to negatively influence employee creativity. Arguing from social information processing theory, the authors show that low levels of authoritarian leadership act as a stressor encouraging creativity, while high levels discourage creativity. Authoritarian leadership is one component of a larger constellation of leader behaviours known as paternalistic leadership. Under paternalistic leadership, authoritarian leadership is combined with benevolence and morality and these interact with authoritarianism. The authors argue that the presence of benevolence and moral leadership causes subordinates to view the leader's authoritarian actions as serving a positive purpose, and show that both benevolence and moral leadership act to offset the negative effects of authoritarian leadership on creativity.