Servant leadership and employee innovative behaviour: exploring psychological pathways

A. Iqbal, K.F. Latif, M.S. Ahmad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drawing on social exchange theory (SET) and conservation of resource (COR) theory, the purpose of this research is to examine the relationship between servant leadership and employees' innovative behaviour and explore the neglected mediating role of psychological safety and thriving.

Following cross-sectional research design, data was collected from 347 employees of large size information technology (IT) companies in Pakistan. Partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) technique was used for data analysis.

The results reveal that servant leadership has direct and positive relationship with employees' innovative behaviour. Moreover, psychological safety and thriving partially mediate this relationship.

Practical implications
This research reinforces the role of servant leadership in organizations striving for a high rate of innovation. Findings of this study suggest managers to practice servant leadership behaviours which enhance employees psychological resources: psychological safety and thriving and prompt them to engage in innovative behaviour.

This research makes novel contribution to the incipient literature by providing first empirical evidence on the simultaneous role of psychological safety and thriving in translating the influence of servant leadership on employees' innovative behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLeadership and Organization Development Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2020


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