The Divergent effects of transformational leadership on individual and team innovation

Voyce Li, Rebecca Mitchell, Brendan Boyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)


Transformational leadership has consistently been argued to enhance team innovation, yet related research has generated ambiguous findings. We suggest that our understanding of leader impact on innovation would benefit from explicitly recognizing both group- and individual-focused transformational leadership dimensions and their distinct effects on team and individual innovation. In particular, we predict a novel contrasting effect in which group-focused transformational leader behavior has a positive impact on team innovation but a negative impact on individual innovation. We further argue that this divergence in leader effect is strengthened by task interdependence, which enhances the negative effects of group-level transformational leadership on individual innovation. Data from 195 members of 56 teams support our predicted pathways, which contribute to a clearer understanding of the complex, multilevel effects of leadership in innovation in teams, and highlight the importance of differentiating between team and individual leader dimensions and outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-97
Number of pages32
JournalGroup and Organization Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • transformational leadership
  • team innovation
  • individual innovation


Dive into the research topics of 'The Divergent effects of transformational leadership on individual and team innovation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this