A Double-edged Sword: Transformational Leadership and Individual Creativity


  • We are very grateful to Felix C. Brodbeck for his helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper.

Email: silke_eisenbeiss@hotmail.com; sabine.boerner@uni-konstanz.de


Leadership research has focused on the positive effects of transformational and charismatic leadership but has neglected the negative side effects. Addressing this gap, we analysed followers' dependency on the leader as a relevant negative side effect in the relationship between transformational leadership and followers' creativity and developed an integrative framework on parallel positive and negative effects of transformational leadership. As expected, results from a study with 416 R&D employees showed that transformational leadership promotes followers' creativity but at the same time increases followers' dependency which in turn reduces their creativity. This negative indirect effect attenuates the positive influence of transformational leadership on followers' creativity.