A Multilevel Examination of Benevolent Leadership and Innovative Behavior in R&D Contexts: A Social Identity Approach

Lale Gumusluoglu, Zahide Karakitapoğlu-Aygün, Teresa Scandura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


Studies of innovation have emphasized the importance of leadership for individual or team innovative behaviors, but have largely ignored cross-team innovative behaviors. Enhancing innovative behaviors across teams is particularly vital for organizations relying on large-scale, complex, and multiteam projects to compete in a dynamic environment. We extend the innovation literature by introducing benevolent leadership as an antecedent to innovative behavior within and across teams. We examine identification to the team and department as mediators based on social identity theory in a sample of 397 R&D employees (consisting of 68 teams). First, individuals reported that benevolent R&D leaders facilitate innovative behavior within their teams when employees are highly identified with these teams. Second, on average, teams reported that benevolent R&D leaders enhance their teams’ innovative behavior across the boundaries when these teams are highly identified with the R&D department. Finally, in contrast to social identity theory’s expectations, individuals reported that benevolent R&D leaders facilitate their innovative behaviors with other teams when employees are highly identified with their teams. The theoretical and practical implications of our findings along with suggestions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-493
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Leadership and Organizational Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017



  • benevolent leadership
  • cross-team innovative behavior
  • department identification
  • social identity theory
  • team identification
  • team innovative behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research

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