DOI: 10.18536/bcce.2017., Mumford, Todd, and Higgs

Jump to: Business Creativity and the Creative Economy | Volume 3

Leading for Innovation: Exercising Influence by Setting and Adapting Constraints

Michael D. Mumford, Erin Michelle Todd, and Cory Higgs
The University of Oklahoma

Mumford, M. D., Todd, E. M., & Higgs, C. (2017). Leading for innovation: Exercising influence by setting and adapting constraints. Business Creativity and the Creative Economy, 3, 1-16. https://doi.org/10.18536/bcce.2017.


Many variables influence the success of creative efforts in organizations. In recent years, however, it has become apparent that effective leadership is one of the more important influences. In the present effort we argue that one key mechanism by which leaders shape the success of creative efforts is by establishing an appropriate set of constraints for the creative tasks on which followers are working. These constraints not only structure creative work but encourage creative thinking by followers. However, the success of creative efforts depends on the nature and timing of leader constraint imposition and the conditions under which these constraints are imposed. The implications of these observations for the success of creative efforts in the workplace are discussed.