Journal of Business Ethics 159 (2):419-433 (2019)

Self-serving leadership is a form of unethical leadership behavior that has destructive effect on its targets and the overall organization. Adopting a social cognition perspective, this study expands our knowledge of its adverse effect and the way to mitigate the effect. Integrating two sub-theories of social cognition, we propose a theoretical model wherein self-serving leadership hinders team creativity through psychological safety as well as knowledge hiding, with task interdependence acting as a contextual condition. Results from a sample of 107 R&D teams revealed that self-serving leadership not only reduced team psychological safety, but also induced team knowledge hiding, both of which ultimately affected team creativity. The presence of high task interdependence buffered the destructive effect of self-serving leadership on team creativity via team psychological safety as well as the indirect effect via knowledge hiding.
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-018-3799-0
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