"Lubricant" or "Stumbling Block"?: The Paradoxical Association Between Team Authoritarian Leadership and Creative Deviance.Front Psychol. 2022; 13:835970.FP
Recently, creative deviance has been lauded to be an innovation-enhancing approach with applications in many new and high-tech domains. Previous study on antecedents to creative deviance remains scattered and vague. Our research conceptualizes creative deviance from the perspective of independent innovation and explores its antecedents, mechanisms, as well as conditions. Team authoritarian leadership is conceptualized as a contradictory unity as it mixes advantages and disadvantages. However, it is surprising to find that there are very few researches that have examined its relevant influence mechanisms and boundary conditions for authoritarian leadership. Contributing to an advanced understanding of authoritarian leadership in research and development teams, we investigated whether team authoritarian leadership is positively or negatively related to creative deviance. Drawing on social information processing theory and regulatory focus theory, we supposed that team authoritarian leadership facilitates creative deviance when the degree is low and inhibits it when the degree is high; dual occupational stress and prevention regulatory focus play mediation roles between team authoritarian leadership and creative deviance respectively, both variables play a chain mediation role in that relationship; and the mindfulness characteristic of an individual moderates the inverted-U team authoritarian leadership-creative deviance association, such that this association is weaker with low individual mindfulness. With two-phase questionnaire data collected from 433 members in 82 R&D teams of high-tech enterprises in electronic information technology, new material technology, new medical technology, resource and environment technology and advanced manufacturing technology randomly selected from five provinces in eastern China, these hypotheses are supported empirically. Overall, we find that, our study broadens antecedents and the relevant occurrence mechanisms of creative deviance when studied through a leadership management lens. Moreover, our research enriches the cognate studies on authoritarian leadership by empirically demonstrating that team authoritarian leadership may function as an double-edged sword of creative deviance in the R&D workplace. These above findings offer insightful thoughts to scholars in the field of authoritarian leadership and bring practical suggestions for team superiors who seek to implement best innovation practice.