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Perceived Authentic Leadership, Work-Related Flow, and Creative Work Behavior: Moderating Role of Organizational Structures

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  • Rawalpindi Women University
Article

Perceived Authentic Leadership, Work-Related Flow, and Creative Work Behavior: Moderating Role of Organizational Structures

Abstract and Figures

The present study aimed to establish the role of perceived authentic leadership in work-related flow and creativity of employees of flat and tall organizations. Additionally, moderating role of organizational structure (flat and tall) in predicting creative work behavior was also appraised. Sample (N = 1180) comprised of male and female employees (mean age = 33.24 years) working in marketing departments of banks (n = 600) and software companies (n = 580). Results showed that perceived authentic leadership positively predicted work-related flow and creative work behavior. Similarly, work-related flow also positively predicted creativity at workplace. Furthermore, relationship between perceived authentic leadership and creative work behavior was moderated by organizational structure. Results also showed that employees working in software houses (flat organization) expressed favorable perceptions and experiences of authentic leadership, work-related flow, and creative work behavior as compared to those working in banks (tall organization). Implications of the present study for employees and management were also discussed
Conceptual Model of the Present Study Rationale of the Present Study At the initial level, the current organizational workings of the Pakistani work sector are in the phase of major transition and evolutionary process of change and adaptability. This is the need of the day to meet the global as well as regional requirements of the market. In an attempt to be visible at the global forum, competencies of organizations through their employees (such as creative work behavior) need to be sharpened; yet, finely tuned so as to deliver the ultimate performance. Moreover, there is an indigenous scarcity of testing the newer and emerging models of leadership (authentic) that may play an important role in enhancing the productivity of business enterprises. Although, ample work has been done in Pakistan in the context of previously established models of leadership (such as transactional and transformational) and its work-related outcomes; however, the primary focus of earlier empirical work has been on the top level management leadership (chief executives, zonal managers) which in itself quite limited in its effectiveness, especially in the context of tall organizations (such as banks, telecommunication firms, hospitals). Similarly, leadership models have been further gauged in the context of unified organizational structures which would be a limitation in establishing the value of those models. Subsequently, in the present era, emerging organizations (for instance, software houses) are also eager to adopt modifying styles of leadership. Leaders working at middle level and frontline management are ready to open up and to function with their full potential and credibility. Instead of focusing on the higher levels of management, real internal change can be more readily introduced by the middle managers who are envoy of transformations and central personnel to bring about change and play key motivating examples for the followers to look up to for effective functioning. Therefore, the major objective of the study was to explore the relationship among perceived authentic leadership, workrelated flow, and creative work behavior among employees of flat and tall organizations. It was also intended to determine the moderating role of type of organizational structure in the relationship between perceived authentic leadership and creative work behavior. The present study also attempted to establish the group differences across flat and tall
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Abasyn Journal of Social Sciences Volume 9 Issue 2
426
Perceived Authentic Leadership, Work-Related Flow, and Creative
Work Behavior: Moderating Role of Organizational Structures
Aisha Zubair
Lecturer, National Institute of Psychology, Quaid-i-Azam University,
Islamabad
Anila Kamal
Professor, National Institute of Psychology, Quaid-i-Azam University,
Islamabad
Abstract
The present study aimed to establish the role of perceived authentic
leadership in work-related flow and creativity of employees of flat and
tall organizations. Additionally, moderating role of organizational
structure (flat and tall) in predicting creative work behavior was also
appraised. Sample (N = 1180) comprised of male and female employees
(mean age = 33.24 years) working in marketing departments of banks (n
= 600) and software companies (n = 580). Results showed that perceived
authentic leadership positively predicted work-related flow and creative
work behavior. Similarly, work-related flow also positively predicted
creativity at workplace. Furthermore, relationship between perceived
authentic leadership and creative work behavior was moderated by
organizational structure. Results also showed that employees working in
software houses (flat organization) expressed favorable perceptions and
experiences of authentic leadership, work-related flow, and creative
work behavior as compared to those working in banks (tall
organization). Implications of the present study for employees and
management were also discussed.
Keywords: Creative work behavior, organizational structure, perceived
authentic leadership, work-related flow.
There is extensive and notable work has been done on the
interplay of organizational structures, leadership styles, and work related
outcomes. In Pakistan various organizations are rendering their services
which can be easily categorized in to tall and flat organizational
structures. However, there is scarcity of empirical work in this regard.
Most of the studies done in Pakistan has evaluated either manufacturing
and service oriented organizations without making comparisons on the
role of the type of structure. Given the present scenario, it is imperative
to determine the function of organizational structures in relation to
practices of leadership, psychological experiences and work related
outcomes. Although it is difficult to handle multiple organizations in a
single study, therefore two flourishing organizations (banks and software
houses) of Pakistan have been considered in the present study as
exemplary institutions of both setups. Nevertheless, developing
understanding in the backdrop of these organizations would facilitate
Abasyn Journal of Social Sciences Volume 9 Issue 2
427
organizational researchers to extend present findings to other similar
structures functioning in Pakistan.
Effectiveness and efficiency of organizations is greatly shaped
by approaches and practices of leadership. Moreover, employees’
experiences of positive emotions at workplace are also contingent upon
their perceptions of immediate leadership patterns. Nevertheless,
organizational structures (tall and flat), to a great extent, determine and
shape patterns and practices of leadership. According to Leavitt (2005),
tall organizations are featured as having multiple hierarchical layers of
management with narrow span of control, and predominantly vertical
communication patterns. On the contrary, flat organizations are
characterized by few hierarchical layers of management, wide span of
control, high delegation of authority with both horizontal and vertical
communication styles.
In recent times, few organizations in Pakistan have emerged as
significant contributors which have given remarkable economic edge to
the national gross output of our nation. These specifically included
banking and information technology sectors. Banks have proven their
worth as financial hallmarks in introducing micro and macro banking at
the grass root level touching and influencing the lives of millions. In
recent years, Pakistan's accelerated economic growth has been
underpinned by a strong banking sector. Another sector in Pakistan
which has witnessed exponential growth in the last decade is the
information technology in general, and software houses in particular.
Software houses offer technology solutions to an all-sector economy,
including the financial sector, telecommunications, government,
manufacturing, and retail businesses.
In recent times, positive psychology is gaining attention in
research paradigms and application of organizational sciences of
Pakistan. Refocus on the flourishing and healthy aspects of human
functioning at workplace provides an expanded avenue for scholars of
organizational behavior to study positive psychological states and
experiences of employees in organizations.
A notable work has been done that focuses on the impact of
authentic leadership on various work related outcomes such as job
performance (Rego et al., 2014), job satisfaction (Sultan, 2012), and job
related stress (Luthans et al., 2015). However, there is scarcity of
empirical evidence about the influence of authentic leadership on
psychological experiences of employees. The present study attempted to
address this gap in literature and explore the psychological resources of
employees which would have been influenced by authentic leadership.
Secondly, there are numerous studies in organizational research that
focus on the functioning of leadership and creativity of employees
exclusively either in tall or flat organizations. Conversely, the present
study make a concerted effort to address this gap and provide the
comparative picture of both tall and flat organizations in relation to
Abasyn Journal of Social Sciences Volume 9 Issue 2
428
authentic leadership and creative work behavior (Iveroth, 2012;
Northouse, 2013). Thirdly, the present study attempts to respond to the
need identified by Shalley and Gilson (2004) as well as Rego, Machado,
Leal, and Cunha (2009) for further exploration focusing on the relations
between psychological states and desirable work behaviors. Therefore,
the present endeavor attempted to determine the impact of contextual
factor (authentic leadership) on employees’ experiential feelings (work-
related flow) and creative output.
Literature Review
In the present study, constructs of authentic leadership, work-
related flow, and creative work behavior of employees working in banks
and software houses have been explored. Therefore, in the following
section, these constructs are briefly explained.
Authentic Leadership
George (2003) described the authentic leaders as those who are
capable of leading from front, goal directed, consistent and self-
disciplined, develop and sustain enduring relations with their followers.
According to Avolio and Gardner (2005), authenticity in leaders is
characterized by commitment to them and perceives the process of
leadership as a lifetime of personal growth. Furthermore, Gardner,
Avolio, Luthans, May, and Walumbwa (2005) also asserted that
authentic leaders are those individuals who have heightened sense of
self-awareness, consistencies in cognitive and behavioral manifestations,
and are aware of their own and others' strengths. Similarly, authentic
leaders are portrayed as self-assured and resilient individual with high
moral character yet flexible in their interactions with their followers.
Work-Related Flow
In the present study, the major construct that has been
investigated as an outcome of perceived authentic leadership is work-
related flow, which is originated from Csikszentmihalyi’s (2003) concept
of flow. An experiential sate of flow is acquired when one faces a
significant challenge with matching abilities and skills
(Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). According to Asakawa (2004), the experience
of work-related flow by employees is characterized by sense of
happiness and enjoyment in accomplishing their tasks; hence the
completion of task itself becomes rewarding rather than focusing on
external goals (e.g., pay, promotion, fringe benefits). Similarly,
employees experiencing flow at work reported satisfying absorption in
the activity or task despite its demanding and challenging nature
(Bakker, 2008).
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Creative Work Behavior
Though creativity is generally allied with remarkably unique and
innovative ideas, nonetheless, it also integrates the competence to
uncover new mechanisms for solving day-to-day problems (Simonton,
2007). Zhou, Hirst, and Shipton (2012) asserted that process of creativity
fundamentally involves newer ideas and mechanisms which
constructively contribute to the individual and collective wellbeing.
Creative work behavior is considered as one of the most vital resource of
viable and practical gain for the organizations; which in turn gives them
competitive edge over the market rivals. In present era, organizations
need to unleash creative potential of their workers in order to endure,
progress, and gain competitive advantage (Zhou & George, 2003).
Creative skills and abilities of employees served as foundation for
organizational modernism, internal and external transformations, and
advancement (Amabile, Barsage, Mueller, & Staw, 2005). Madjar,
Oldham, and Pratt (2002) inferred that creative work behavior of
employees is an essential requisite for all types of job and various levels
of management; hence creativity is imperative for jobs that are
traditionally viewed as requiring creativity (advertising, software
development, teaching) but also for jobs that are primarily categorized as
more structured in nature (banking, accounting, medical sciences). It is
imperative to grasp the existing literature regarding the possible
relationships among the major constructs of the present study. In the
following section, relevant literature is briefly narrated.
Authentic Leadership and Creative Work Behavior
Much empirical evidence has highlighted the role of authentic
leadership in generating desirable work related outcomes including
creativity at work. For instance, it has been found that authentic leaders
are able to elevate the intensity of constructive cognitive and emotional
competencies of their followers (Gardner & Schermerhorn, 2004);
improved self-esteem (Kernis, 2003); innovative job performance
(Luthans & Avolio, 2003); and trust (Clapp-Smith, Vogelgesang, &
Avey, 2009). Authentic leaders express honesty and self-revelation,
which consequently, encourages trust in leader-follower relationship
(Walumbwa, Avolio, Gardner, Wernsing, & Peterson, 2008).
Additionally, this trusted relationship facilitates information sharing with
genuine thoughts and feelings, thereby, reducing apprehensions of failure
and despondency (Kernis, 2003). Moreover, employees perceive their
authentic leaders to be supportive and compassionate of their innovative
and diverse ideas, thereby facilitating inclinations for creativity and
innovation (George, 2003).
In Pakistan, though quite less, but notable work has been done
on the concept of authentic leadership in the backdrop of indigenous
context. For instance, Khan (2010) attempted to determine the impact of
authentic leaders on organizational performance and asserted that
Abasyn Journal of Social Sciences Volume 9 Issue 2
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authentic leaders has positive affect on the employees’ attitude and
behavior, which ultimately lead the organization towards the enhanced
performance. Like wise, Abida, Altaf, Yousaf, Majid, and Bagram
(2012) inferred that entrepreneur as an authentic leader can enhance the
employee’s commitment and satisfaction among small and medium sized
enterprises in Pakistan. Sultan (2012) found that authentic leadership is
in linear relationship with job performance among employees of
multinational companies working in Pakistan. Hassan et al. (2013)
studied the relationship between authentic leadership and ethical
practices to explore the way authentic leader promotes an ethical work
climate that emotionally glues the followers to their organization in a
collectivistic culture like Pakistan. Another study (Kiyani, Saher,
Saleem, & Iqbal, 2013) concluded that authentic leadership mediates the
relationship between emotional intelligence and employee outcomes
among managers working in telecom companies. Later studies affirmed
that authentic leadership is positively associated with work engagement
and psychological ownership (Dar, 2014) and negatively linked with job
stress and burnout of the employees (Adil, 2015) among university
teachers. The aforementioned literature offers substantial grounds to
formulate the following hypothesis:
H1. Perceived authentic leadership positively predicted work-related
flow and creative work behavior of employees.
Work-Related Flow and Creative Work Behavior
Numerous studies (Madjar et al., 2002; Perry-Smith & Shalley,
2003) concluded that personal experience of flow is positively linked
with optimal and maximal performance in the fields of arts, sports, and
science. Similarly, Ishimura and Kodama (2006) inferred that that
positive strengths like flow at work further foster creative and innovative
output with immense stance of proficiency and effectiveness. Moreover,
work absorption and enjoyment (components of work-related flow) are
experienced by employees during activities that are challenging; thereby
augmenting the creative output at work (Csikszentmihalyi, 2003).
Asakawa (2010) suggested that work-related flow and intrinsic
motivation is positively foster elevated personal sense of internal locus of
control and cognitive absorption, thereby, leading to creative work
behaviors. However, with reference to Pakistani perspective, the present
study is the first attempt to empirically determine the role of work related
flow in desirable work related outcomes such as creativity. These
empirical evidences, thereby, provide reasonable grounds to assume the
following statement:
H2. Work-related flow positively predicted creative work behavior of
employees working in banks and software houses.
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Tall and Flat Organizational Structures
In the present study, software houses have been primarily
considered as flat organizations with minimal managerial layers,
decentralized authority, low span of control, horizontal communication
patterns that facilitates instant and unswerving communication between
leader follower-dyad (Mintzberg, 2009). On the other hand, banks have
been taken exemplary working model of tall and formalized
organization; with extensive hierarchical structure, wide span of control
with centralized decision making styles, vertical communication trends,
and elaborative documentation involved in routine official working
(Santra & Giri, 2008). The fundamental goal of considering both types of
organizational structures is to gauge the comparative functioning of
leadership practices, experiencing flow, and reflections of creativity at
workplace. The underlying assumption is that the very structure of the
organization would bear an impact on the contextual and psychological
dynamics of the work settings (Iveroth, 2012). Likewise, differences in
organizational structures would also laid grounds for preferences towards
certain interactive work styles, which may in turn, influence the
perceptions of employees toward their own selves as well as their
organizations.
Moderating Role of Organizational Structures
Additional set of studies (Asakawa, 2010; Luthans et al., 2015;
Zhang & Bartol, 2010) indicated that organizational structure moderates
the relationship between contextual factors (such as leadership styles,
supervisor support, and performance appraisal) and work related
behaviors (such as job performance, organizational commitment, and
organizational citizenship behavior). Similarly, flat organizations with
minimal layers of management positively buffer the relationship
between transformational leadership and job related burnout
(Blanchard, 2008). Walumbwa (2014) also inferred that tall
organizational structure positively moderates the relationship between
transactional leadership and turnover intentions among sales managers.
H3. Organizational structure (tall vs flat) moderates the relationship
between perceived authentic leadership and creative work behavior of
employees.
Work Related Outcomes of Tall and Flat Organizations
There are several studies which have highlighted the impact of
different organizational structures (flat vs tall) on work-related attitudes
and behaviors. For instance, tall structures are characterized by more
rigid and bureaucratic configuration help the companies to achieve
efficiency, while flat structures, which are decentralized and flexible,
aid companies in achieving innovativeness (Richards, 2014). Bloisi,
Cook, and Hunsaker (2007) found that employees in a flat organization
may feel as though they have more direct influence on the company;
Abasyn Journal of Social Sciences Volume 9 Issue 2
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whereas, employees of a tall organization have to advance their careers
through multiple hierarchical layers; which often resulted in
professional frustration and dissatisfaction. Moreover, flat organizations
permit more decisional autonomy and power to its employees; whereas,
employees working at middle and lower hierarchical levels, in tall
organizational structures, experience comparative lack of power and
autonomy (Richards, 2014). Brown and Duguid (2001) asserted that flat
organizational structures are characterized by wider span of control and
flexibility in decision making. Furthermore, communication across few
layers of management assisted in swift decisions and resolution of
conflicts. Therefore, directives and feedback can be communicated
more quickly to allow for necessary changes.
H4. Employees working in flat organization would reflect better
perceptions of authentic leadership and elevated levels of work-related
flow and creative work behavior as compared to those working in tall
organization.
Theoretical Model of the Present Study
The present study has opted the theoretical model that is based
on two distinctive, yet, related approaches. Firstly, the authentic
leadership model which explains the process of leadership as role
modeling, personal and social identification, and genuinety (Avolio &
Gardner, 2005). Therefore, in-depth exploration of this model would
offer answers in relation to impact of leadership practices of managers on
creativity of their followers. Several studies have concluded the direct
and indirect role of authentic leadership in employees’ creativity, for
instance, authentic leaders (as role models) are able to augment intrinsic
motivation, work engagement, and organizational commitment (Avolio,
Gardner, Walumbwa, Luthans, & May, 2004), resulting in improved job
performance and productivity in followers (Avolio & Walumbwa, 2006).
Secondly, the present study also derive its assumptions from broaden and
build model (Fredrickson, 2003). This model asserts that experiencing
positive emotions at workplace can expand the employees’ cognitive
performance. Hence, experiencing happiness and absorption at work
widens both scope of attention and cognition. The former assisted in
enhancing the availability of cognitive elements for association; while
latter facilitated the process of augmenting the span of cognitive
elements which are necessary for problem solving, hence, escalating the
likelihood of creative output (Frederickson 2001). The aforementioned
theoretical explanation provides basis for the following assumption that
authentic leadership and work-related flow would enthuse and motivate
the employees to work with more eagerness and enthusiasm thereby,
leading to more creative work output. The following conceptual model of
the present study is suggested:
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433
Figure 1. Conceptual Model of the Present Study
Rationale of the Present Study
At the initial level, the current organizational workings of the
Pakistani work sector are in the phase of major transition and
evolutionary process of change and adaptability. This is the need of the
day to meet the global as well as regional requirements of the market. In
an attempt to be visible at the global forum, competencies of
organizations through their employees (such as creative work behavior)
need to be sharpened; yet, finely tuned so as to deliver the ultimate
performance. Moreover, there is an indigenous scarcity of testing the
newer and emerging models of leadership (authentic) that may play an
important role in enhancing the productivity of business enterprises.
Although, ample work has been done in Pakistan in the context of
previously established models of leadership (such as transactional and
transformational) and its work-related outcomes; however, the primary
focus of earlier empirical work has been on the top level management
leadership (chief executives, zonal managers) which in itself quite
limited in its effectiveness, especially in the context of tall organizations
(such as banks, telecommunication firms, hospitals). Similarly,
leadership models have been further gauged in the context of unified
organizational structures which would be a limitation in establishing the
value of those models.
Subsequently, in the present era, emerging organizations (for
instance, software houses) are also eager to adopt modifying styles of
leadership. Leaders working at middle level and frontline management
are ready to open up and to function with their full potential and
credibility. Instead of focusing on the higher levels of management, real
internal change can be more readily introduced by the middle managers
who are envoy of transformations and central personnel to bring about
change and play key motivating examples for the followers to look up to
for effective functioning. Therefore, the major objective of the study was
to explore the relationship among perceived authentic leadership, work-
related flow, and creative work behavior among employees of flat and
tall organizations. It was also intended to determine the moderating role
of type of organizational structure in the relationship between perceived
authentic leadership and creative work behavior. The present study also
attempted to establish the group differences across flat and tall
Perceived
Authentic
Leadership
Organizational
Structure
Creative
Work
Behavior
Work
Related
Flow
Abasyn Journal of Social Sciences Volume 9 Issue 2
434
organizations in relation to perceived authentic leadership, work-related
flow, and creative work behavior.
Research Methodology
Sample A purposive sample (N = 1180) was acquired from two types of
organizations; that is software houses (n = 580) and banks (n = 600) of
Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Lahore. Inclusion criteria was to incorporate
employees who were working in private sector banks and software
houses for at least one year and having a minimum overall work
experience of two years. Respondents included both men (n = 775;
Software houses = 377; banks = 398) and women (n = 405; software
houses = 203; banks = 202), with age range 25-55 years (M = 32.53; SD
= 8.73). Job designations of the respondents (N = 580) working in
software houses comprised of system analysts (n = 94), software
engineers (n = 98), computer programmers (n = 126), software
developers (n = 78), and senior software engineers (n = 62). For banks (N
= 600), participants included marketing managers (n = 158), managers
credit marketing unit (n = 174), marketing operations managers (n = 92),
senior marketing managers (n = 70), and business development officers
(n = 106).
Measures
The description of appraisal instruments is given as follows.
Authentic Leadership Questionnaire. To assess perceptions of
employees regarding authenticity of their leaders (immediate boss), a 14
item Authentic Leadership Questionnaire (ALQ; Avolio et al. 2007) was
employed. Respondents were required to reflect their perceptions on 5-
point scale ranging from 0 (not at all) to 4 (always). ALQ consisted of
14 items assessing four components, that is, Relational Transparency (3
items), Internalized Moral Perspective (4 items), Balanced Processing (3
items), and Self-awareness (4 items). Avolio et al. (2007) reported
internal consistency of ALQ as .88 (Avolio et al., 2007); whereas, alpha
coefficient of .84 was acquired for the total ALQ in the present sample.
Work-Related Flow Scale. To appraise experiential perceptions
of flow, Work-related Flow Scale (WRFS; Bakker, 2008) was used.
WRFS comprised of 13 statements assessing three dimensions of flow,
that is, Absorption (4 items), Work Enjoyment (4 items), and Intrinsic
Work Motivation (5 items). Respondents indicated their perceptions on
7-point rating scale ranging from 1 = never to 7 = always with high
scores indicating higher experience of flow at work. Bakker (2008)
reported internal consistency of WRFS as .89; while in the present study,
alpha coefficient of .87 was achieved for the total scale indicating as a
dependable and reliable measure of the construct.
Creativity Scale. Creative work behavior of the employees was
assessed with Creativity Scale (CS; Zhou & George, 2001). The self
Abasyn Journal of Social Sciences Volume 9 Issue 2
435
report measure of creativity comprised of 13 items and responses were
acquired on 5-point scale ranging from not at all (1) to a great extent (5)
and higher score indicate higher levels of creative work behaviors.
Earlier studies reported very high values of alpha coefficient of this
scale, for instance, .92 (Rego et al., 2012), .96 (Zhou & George, 2001),
and .89 (Zhou, Hirst, & Shipton, 2012); while, alpha coefficient of .83
and validity coefficient of .47 was found for the Creativity Scale on the
current sample.
As all the scales were responded on varying response options
such as 5-point and 7-point rating scales; therefore, transformed scores
were tabulated and used in the final analysis of data.
Procedure
Formal authorization to approach employees of banks and
software houses was acquired from the respective administrative
representatives of the organizations. Participants were contacted on
individual basis and were briefed about the explicit purpose of the study.
Participants were also assured about the confidentiality of any personal
information and they also have the right to quit without completing the
questionnaires. Both written instructions and verbal narrations were
specified so as to ensure respondents’ understanding and response
genuinety. Later, authors graciously thanked the respondents for their
cooperation and sharing the valuable information. Letter of thanks were
also sent to the respective organizations for their generous facilitation in
the process of data collection.
Data Analysis and Results
Linear regression and multiple regression was tabulated to
determine the predictive role of authentic leadership and moderating role
of organizational structures; while t-test was conducted to determine the
group differences along major constructs of the study across both groups
of employees.
Table 1. Linear Regression Predicting Creative Work Behavior
among Employees (N = 1180)
Creative Work Behavior
Model 2
Variables
Model 1
B
95% CI
R2
Constant
18.09
36.61
[28.68,44.54]
.22
Age
2.59
.71
[0.42,1.85]
Gender
.68
.22
[0.91,0.48]
Education
.06
.15
[0.74,1.04]
PAL
.33***
[0.10,0.05]
WRF
.48***
[0.59,0.37]
Note. PAL = Perceived Authentic Leadership; WRF = Work Related Flow; B =
unstandardized regression weights, R2 = explained variance; Age, gender, and
education are controlled variables
Abasyn Journal of Social Sciences Volume 9 Issue 2
436
**p < .01, ***p < .001
Table 1 showed that after controlling age, gender, and education;
it has been found that perceived authentic leadership, and work related
flow significantly predict creative work behavior among employees. The
whole model explains 22% variance in creative work behavior where
perceived authentic leadership and work related flow as predictors
accounted variance in outcome. Hence, these findings provide support
for H1 and H2.
Table 2. Moderating Role of Type of Organizational Structure
(Flat and Tall) in Predicting Creative Work Behavior (N = 1180)
Variables
Constant
B
SE
β
Δ
F
Slope (t-Value)
PAL .114
.642
.13
.150
CWB .371
.651
.16
.115
OS .358
9.29
1.03
.36
PAL x OS
(Predicting CWB)
.018
.26
.09
.12
.11
29.51***
1.64(6.47***)
Note. PAL = Perceived Authentic Leadership; CWB = Creative Work Behavior;
OS = Organizational Structure.
Table 2 shows that type of organization has moderated the
relationship of perceived authentic leadership with creative work
behavior explaining 11% variance with significant interaction effect (β =
.09). Furthermore, significant slope index and t-value also indicated
moderate effect size; hence, providing pragmatic support for H3.
Table 3. Group Differences across Types of Organizations in
Relation to Variables of the Study (N = 1180)
Variables
Banks
(n = 600)
Software
Houses
(n = 580)
95% CI
Cohen’s
M
SD
M
SD
t(1178)
LL
UL
d
PAL
49.21
12.27
55.11
11.59
6.11***
-8.72
3.08
.53
WRF
45.14
16.37
53.81
15.93
6.84***
-10.49
4.84
.61
CWB
34.31
11.59
40.38
9.82
7.01***
-4.61
2.45
.68
Note. PAL = Perceived Authentic Leadership; WRF = Work-Related Flow; CWB =
Creative Work Behavior
*p < .001
Results presented in Table 3 indicated significant differences on
all the parameters of the study across employees of banks and software
houses. It has been found that employees of software houses (as part of
flat organization) demonstrated favorable perceptions of authentic
Abasyn Journal of Social Sciences Volume 9 Issue 2
437
leadership, enhanced experience of work-related flow, and creative work
behavior as compared to their counterparts working in tall organizational
structures. Effect size was estimated through Cohen’s d and it values
ranged from .53 - .68, thereby indicating moderate effect size. These
findings provide substantial tangible support for H4.
Discussion
Results indicated that perceived authentic leadership positively
predicted work-related flow. Earlier studies also showed same pattern of
relationship between these two constructs; for instance, Luthans,
Youssef, and Avolio (2007) asserted that corporate leaders by opting
moral and authentic practices can cultivate healthy psychological
behaviors such as optimism, resilience, and self efficacy among
employees. In recent times, Csikszentmihalyi (2014) inferred that
authentic leaders are capable of generating workplace atmosphere that
facilitates experiential flow and intrinsic motivation of workers.
Additional set of studies (Peterson & Seligman, 2004; Jensen & Luthans,
2002), concluded that authentic leaders primarily focus on the
accomplishments of their followers; thereby, promoting feelings of
happiness and emotional safety in employees.
Findings of the present study further indicated that authentic
leadership positively predicted creative work behavior. These results
found substantial support in the earlier work; for example, authentic
leaders may promote employees' creativity through mechanisms such as
by improvising excellence in leader-follower relations; which in turn,
augment the self-reliance and conviction of employees to express
original, yet productive ideas and to launch conflicting opinions with
confidence (I1ies, Morgeson, & Nahrgang, 2005). Prati et al. (2003)
reported that authentic leaders induce feelings of emotional and
psychological safety among their followers; thereby permitting them to
take creative initiatives in facing work-related problems. Amabile et al.
(2004) and Zhou (2003) affirmed that leaders employed ethical and
genuine practices as instrumental mechanisms in initiating intrinsic work
motivation and self-reliance among employees to achieve creative
outcomes.
Moreover, present study inferred that work-related flow
positively predicted creative work behavior. Several studies provided
substantial support for these findings; for instance, Rego et al. (2012)
demonstrated the imperative role of internal drive and flow in instigating
and maintaining innovative and resourceful work behavior. Similarly,
Asakawa (2010) found that cognitive and emotional absorption as
components of flow positively predicted creative and useful work
behaviors. Csikszentmihalyi (2014) also claimed that transient flow
states at work positively predicted higher order executive functions such
as problem solving, crucial decision making, and strategic planning;
while Choi (2004) inferred that work-related flow is in linear relationship
Abasyn Journal of Social Sciences Volume 9 Issue 2
438
with creative productivity in terms of ingenious, efficient, and industrial
resourcefulness.
Findings further revealed that organizational structure
significantly moderates the relationship between perceived authentic
leadership and creative work behavior. In addition, employees working
in flat organization (software houses) reflected positive perceptions of
authentic leadership, elevated levels of flow and creative behaviors at
workplace as compared to those working in tall organization (banks).
These results found support in the Weber’s model of mechanistic
structure (as cited in Senior & Swailes, 2010). According to Wang,
Waldman, and Zhang (2013), tall organizations are characterized by well
defined job specifications and division of labor, depends too much on the
layers of management with a solitary sequence of control operating
through the whole organization from top to bottom; thereby permitting
lesser options for distributive leadership.. Conversely, flat organizations
foster transparent style of leadership promoting authenticity and
transparencies in relationship with employees (Vidyarthi, Erdogan,
Anand, Liden, & Chaudhry, 2014). Senior and Swailes (2010) further
added that tall organizations has distinct impersonal regulations that
employees had to follow in order to execute their roles and
responsibilities at work; thereby leading to better performance of
routinized tasks; while flat organizations as organic structures favor
personnel rules and distributive style of leadership which imparts more
empowerment to the middle management and subsequently fosters
creative job performance of employees. Prior studies (Leavitt, 2005;
Northouse, 2013) also indicated that leadership styles are differentially
practiced in tall and flat organizations; thereby influencing a wide array
of work-related behaviors. For instance, organizational structure played a
buffering function in predicting organizational commitment (Bohem,
Chen, Williams, Ryff, & Kubzansky, 2015); employee creativity (Choi,
2004); job satisfaction (Santra & Giri, 2008); and job performance
(Costa, Rodrigues, Toscano, & Weber, 2015).
Limitations and Suggestions
The present study inherited few potential drawbacks. For
instance, the findings of the present study does not permit basis for
causal inferences owing to its cross sectional design. Moreover, current
results offer limited generalizability due to the inclusion of only banks
and software houses; however, future endeavors may extend to other
occupational groups so as to enhance the spectrum of phenomena at
hand. Finally, the use of forced choice measures may restrict the
response variability; therefore, it would be more appropriate to make use
of multi-method approach to explore the present constructs to enhance
the in-depth understanding of these constructs.
Implications
Abasyn Journal of Social Sciences Volume 9 Issue 2
439
Few major inferences would be drawn on the basis of the present
findings. Firstly, human resources personnel involved in job design
would be able to classify and design jobs which may augment job
oriented flow among workers; thereby accelerating creative output of
employees. Secondly, organizational psychologists would devise
intervention modules that trigger intrinsic motivation and self-
stimulation of the workers; leading them to experience happiness and
absorption from their work. Similarly, leadership modules highlighting
authenticity could also be designed for middle level managers. These
capacity building modules would assist the executives and managers to
endorse workplace creativeness among efficacious and optimistic
employees. Thirdly, from the humanistic perspective, employees
developing more positive psychological strengths would be additionally
capable of managing workplace problems and stressors owing to their
internal drive and enjoyment. Fourthly, the present findings would have
shown new avenues to the organizational counselors to develop modules
for enhancing the work-related well-being of the employees. Finally,
organizational management needs to redesign leadership programs and
managerial practices so as to enhance the positive strengths of their
employees and reducing the disadvantageous work behaviors such as
absenteeism and turnover intentions.
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