Outshined by Creative Stars: A Dual-Pathway Model of Leader Reactions to Employees’ Reputation for Creativity

Joel B. Carnevale, Lei Huang, Lynne C. Vincent, Lingtao Yu, Wei He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Establishing a reputation for creativity can endow employees with considerable social advantages as others look to them as a source of assistance, inspiration, and guidance. Yet, as leaders often expect access to certain privileges and advantages based on their hierarchical positions, such employees may signal a discrepancy with leaders’ own expected superiority. Drawing from the social functional view of emotions, we provide a novel extension to the creativity literature by developing and testing a dual-path model of leaders’ emotional and behavioral reactions to their employees’ reputation for creativity. Results from a survey study of 257 leader–employee dyads at a large Chinese automobile company supported our predictions that the presence of an employee reputed for their creativity fostered leaders’ feelings of envy and motivated corresponding remedial actions. Specifically, we found that, conditional on leaders’ beliefs in their own ability to be creative (i.e., creative self-efficacy), employee reputation for creativity either triggered leaders’ dysfunctional resistance toward the employee via leaders’ malicious envy, or led to leaders’ creativity help-seeking from the employee via leaders’ benign envy. We discuss how our results contribute to the extant literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Management
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • creativity help-seeking
  • downward envy
  • dysfunctional resistance
  • reputation for creativity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Strategy and Management


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