Innovative work behavior has recently attracted considerable interest of both researchers and practitioners. Although extant research provides valuable insights into employees' innovative behavior, knowledge on top executives' innovative behavior, its antecedents, and its outcomes is scarce. Drawing on upper echelons theory, this study considers whether different facets of top executives' positive self-regard enhance or harm their innovative behavior. The authors theorize that top executives' selfism, hypercore self-evaluation, and overconfidence-all of which imply a strong positive self-regard-distinctly determine their willingness and ability to engage in innovative behavior, which in turn is critical for new product program newness. Time-lagged data from a sample of 214 top executives and 647 matched subordinates reveal that seemingly similar psychological characteristics of top executives affect innovative behavior differently. Selfism and overconfidence negatively influence innovative behavior; hypercore self-evaluation has a positive effect. A structural mediation analysis confirms a multistage, causal chain that links the three psychological characteristics with product program newness, mediated by top executives' innovative work behavior. Furthermore, moderated mediation analysis suggests that some demographic characteristics of top executives moderate the effects of hypercore self-evaluation and overconfidence on innovative behavior, whereas the effect of selfism remains unchanged regardless of their tenure or power. Hence, this study provides a more fine-grained perspective on top executives' positive self-regard and its contingencies in the innovation context.
There has long been interest in how leaders influence the unethical behavior of those who they lead. However, research in this area has tended to focus on leaders' direct influence over subordinate behavior, such as through role modeling or eliciting positive social exchange. We extend this research by examining how ethical leaders affect how employees construe morally problematic decisions, ultimately influencing their behavior. Across four studies, diverse in methods (lab and field) and national context (the United States and China), we find that ethical leadership decreases employees' propensity to morally disengage, with ultimate effects on employees' unethical decisions and deviant behavior. Further, employee moral identity moderates this mediated effect. However, the form of this moderation is not consistent. In Studies 2 and 4, we find that ethical leaders have the largest positive influence over individuals with a weak moral identity (providing a "saving grace"), whereas in Study 3, we find that ethical leaders have the largest positive influence over individuals with a strong moral identity (catalyzing a "virtuous synergy"). We use these findings to speculate about when ethical leaders might function as a "saving grace" versus a "virtuous synergy." Together, our results suggest that employee misconduct stems from a complex interaction between employees, their leaders, and the context in which this relationship takes place, specifically via leaders' influence over employees' moral cognition.
Human Resource Management
This study examined how social comparison (i.e., comparing one's pay to similar others' pay) and deserved comparison (i.e., comparing one's pay to one's deserved pay) affect pay fairness perceptions, and the individual differences in the comparison processes. Results based on a field study with a sample of 167 employees showed pay fairness was low when employees received lower pay than a similar other (or what they deserved), increased as their pay exceeded that of a similar other (or deserved pay) to some extent, and then decreased when overpayment was considerable. Second, pay fairness increased as one's actual and similar others' pay levels both increased while pay fairness remained the same as one's actual and the deserved pay levels both increased. In addition, the “threshold” that people start to perceive overpayment as less fair occurred more quickly for those with higher preference for consistency in social comparison and for those with higher preference for the merit principle in deserved comparison. We also conducted experiments, and the results generally replicated the findings in the field study. These findings offer theoretical implications regarding organizational justice, as well as practical implications for designing and executing a compensation system.
preference for consistency
preference for the merit principle
In today's organizations, employees are often assigned as members of multiple teams simultaneously (i.e., multiple team membership), and yet we know little about important leadership and employee phenomena in such settings. Using a scenario-based experiment and 2 field studies of leaders and their employees in the People's Republic of China and the United States, we examined how empowering leadership exhibited by 2 different team leaders toward a single employee working on 2 different teams can spillover to affect that employee's psychological empowerment and subsequent proactivity across teams. Consistent across all 3 studies, we found that each of the team leaders' empowering leadership uniquely and positively influenced an employee's psychological empowerment and subsequent proactive behaviors. In the field studies, we further found that empowering leadership exhibited by one team leader influenced the psychological empowerment and proactive behaviors of their team member not only in that leader's team but also in the other team outside of that leader's stewardship. Finally, across studies, we found that empowering leadership exhibited on one team can substitute for lower levels of empowering leadership experienced in a different team led by a distinct leader. We discuss our contributions to the motivation, teams, and leadership literatures and provide practical guidance for leaders charged with managing employees that have multiple team memberships.