Getting what’s new from newcomers: Empowering leadership, creativity, and adjustment in the socialization context

T. Brad Harris, Ning Li, Wendy R. Boswell, Xin An Zhang, Zhitao Xie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Researchers consistently argue that organizations need to generate creative ideas to ensure long-term success and survival. One possible solution for increasing creativity is to inject “fresh blood” into the organization by hiring new employees. However, past work suggests there may be a number of impediments that stifle newcomer creativity and, further, that encouraging newcomer creativity may compromise other adjustment outcomes. Accordingly, the present research examines how empowering leaders, in conjunction with contextual and relational factors (i.e., organizational support for creativity and newcomers’ trust in leaders), facilitate newcomer creativity. Study 1 indicates that empowering leadership positively predicts newcomer creativity and that this relationship is contingent on the organizational context. Study 2 reveals that a more specific and proximal contextual socialization factor–newcomers’ trust in leaders–is a more potent moderator than organizational support for creativity. Further, these predictors operate through creative process engagement to influence creativity. Finally, results indicate positive links between empowering leadership and role clarity, attachment, and task performance, suggesting that empowering leadership may serve as an important, albeit overlooked, socialization tactic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-604
Number of pages38
JournalPersonnel Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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