Open Journal of Leadership
2013. Vol.2, No.4, 73-77
Published Online December 2013 in SciRes (http://www.scirp.org/journal/ojl) http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ojl.2013.24010
Open Access 73
Connecting Individual Differences in Workforce to Organizational
Creativity through Transformational Leadership for Corporate
Syeda Asiya Zenab Kazmi, Marja Naaranoja*
Faculty of Technology, University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland
Email: email@example.com, *firstname.lastname@example.org
Received August 13th, 2013; revised September 15th, 2013; accepted September 28th, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Syeda Asiya Zenab Kazmi, Marja Naaranoja. This is an open access article distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any
medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
The study offers grounds to measure level of “creativity” through directional “leadership management op-
tions” (i.e. transactional leadership, laissez-faire leadership) in teams marked by individual differences or
diversity. The study results confirmed that transformational leadership provides support to generate crea-
tivity by even the ordinary performers marked by the workforce diversity phenomenon among the organ-
Keywords: Creativity; Transactional Leadership; Laissez-Faire Leadership; Individual Differences;
Transformational Leadership; Workforce Diversity
Global awareness on the significance of good leadership is
becoming increasingly apparent within the healthcare sector. It
calls for an intense effort by the care leaders to function effec-
tively by making conscious organizational working choices to
ensure safety, and quality of care facilities. During recent times,
management experts and researchers have focused significantly
on searching innovative ways and means to provide strategic
competitive choices for service sector industries to sustain. This
demands change-driven process development. Consequently,
what is needed is a mix of diverse leaders who can lead through
these changes by promoting an environment suitable to en-
Henceforth, the current research paper is an effort to measure
the element of creativity linked with the workforce diversity
within the case environment. In addition, the authors will in-
vestigate the relationship between creativity and the selected
styles of “leadership” (i.e. transactional leadership, laissez-faire
leadership and transformational leadership) in teams reflecting
diversity as organizational competitive action.
The case study has the basis of a longitudinal research proc-
ess, under way with the collaboration of the University of
Vaasa and public sector policy formulators (i.e., Ministry of
Health, Finland) through a Tekes supported project named
OSUVA. The aim of the study is to suggest healthcare reforms
in Finnish public sector through extensive human resource
utilization targeting even the ordinary work performers by
highlighting collaborative innovation. Scope of the current
research investigation engulfed the current organizational situa-
tion through the dimensions of creativity, care (i.e., well-being),
commitment, and confidence, to suggest leadership solutions to
manage the organizational transformation and improvement.
On the whole, the case study is an effort to investigate the ef-
fective leadership style through which the “individual differ-
ences” among the team members can be effectively utilized to
generate creativity initiatives as work forces’ key potentials.
The study findings justified the very fact that transformational
leadership style provides strong grounds for gaining unique
performance initiatives even by the ordinary performers within
the organization’s human resource cluster through diversity to
The article is arranged in a sequence that the authors will
share the information on research settings initially, followed by
throwing light on the literature review, hypothesis formulation,
methodology used, and results of the study followed by the
discussion and conclusion on the case study. We will end the
paper by sharing the possible future avenues of the current re-
Our current study is a joint research venture between the
public sector policy formulators (i.e., Ministry of Health,
Finland, and the Faculty of Technology, University of Vaasa,
Finland). The overall focus of the research initiative is to focus
on to suggest healthcare reforms highlighting collaborative
innovation and its continuous improvement thereafter for the
maturity of the organizational transformation process. However,
the current paper will focus on a limited view of the greater
research parameters; which is, to investigate the effective lead-
ership option to promote creativity through workforce diversity.
In the current study, the localities, for which the transforma-
tional process is targeted, are the Vaasa, Laihia and Vähäkyrö
areas situated in the north of Finland.
*Corresponding author. The proposed collaborative innovative change process was
S. A. Z. KAZMI, M. NAARANOJA
injected in to the work departments consisting on physiotherapy,
dental units, child and mother care, general physician services
at the targeted localities. Here, it is pertinent to mention that the
services like, administration, physiotherapy, psychologist ser-
vice and support services are jointly managed in the relatively
distant targeted localities. In addition, the study sample repre-
sents diversity in terms of the respondents’ professional as well
as hierarchical standings within the case environment.
Transformational leadership has emerged from the need to
transform the individual’s abilities, team’s performance level or
the firm’s potential to go beyond the expected gains. Transfor-
mational leadership is defined as the combination of four at-
tributes; Charisma; a force to create and present positive futur-
istic vision; inspirational motivation; an inspirational spirit to
motivate the followers to reach out beyond their self-interest;
Intellectual stimulation; a spirit to prompt the followers to see
the issues from a novel perspective to offer solutions; individu-
alized consideration; an ability of the leader to develop the
follower through encouragement, support and mentoring.
First introduced by Burns (1978) and later elaborated by
Bass (1985) the basic logic behind the Transformational Lead-
ership style. Transformational Leadership is characterized by a
leader’s ability to articulate a shared vision of the future, intel-
lectually stimulate employees, and attend to individual differ-
ences in employees (Lowe, Kroeck, & Sivasubramaniam, 1996).
According to Bass (1985) the model of “Transformational
Leadership”, is regarded as one of the most suited framework
by the theorist and researchers for the organization where the
managements truly work to encourage their employees to per-
form beyond expectations. Burns (1978) introduced the concept
of “Transformational leadership” and highlighted the difference
between “Transactional Leadership” and “Transformational
According to Bass (1985) transformational leaders motivate
followers to achieve performance beyond expectations through
the transformational process of thought (i.e., Beliefs and values
etc.) and behavior (i.e., Attitudes and attributes etc.). The tradi-
tional description of leadership is that it is a mere combination
of human traits that a person is having by default (Stogdill,
1974). According to Kouzes & Posner (1987), the road to great
leadership that is common to successful leaders includes the
ingredients that are Challenge the process: Inspire a shared
vision, Enable others to act, Model the way and Encourage the
In addition, Bass & Avolio (1993) were of the opinion that,
the global effort for survival of the fittest requires a potent style
of leadership that exceeds the traditional styles of transactional
leadership or laissez-faire leadership which is known as no
leadership. Transactional leadership is known for mostly fo-
cusing on reinforcement. According to the study findings by
Pearce and Sims Jr. (2002), collective leadership was consid-
ered as the most significant basis of the team effectiveness. The
case study findings revealed the clear basis for an empirical
claim that a highly cognized strategy for dispensing leadership
components among the team members is likely to enrich team
effectiveness manifolds. Concept of team as defined by Raelin
(2003) suggests that a “Team” is the development of “leader-
ful” communities where leadership actually gets the basis to
groom or flourish.
The core ingredient that enables a “Leader” to lead his or her
team is undoubtedly the “Learning Process” to grasp the en-
countering situations and to help the followers to cope with
such forces by functioning comfortably and effectively. Here
the question arises that how the leaders should handle their
groups or teams members’ capabilities effectively while coping
with the variety diversity in individual behaviors within the
human resource clusters. Plato, 2000 years ago concluded that
“No two persons are born exactly alike”; but each differs from
the other in natural endowments, one being suited for one oc-
cupation and the other for another. Sir Francis Galton
(1822-1911) proposed that why not measure human traits and
then selectively breed superior people? He pointed towards
human traits and covering the intellectual capability, physical
ability, till the overall personality traits such as even-tem-
peredness, as inherited. Individual differences are essential
whenever we wish to explain how individuals differ in their
behavior, performance level, capabilities and intellectual levels
etc. (Buss & Greiling, 1999). Finkelstein and Hambrick (1996)
argue that the life experiences and psychological attributes of
managers influence their view of the world resulting in differ-
ential behavior among executives facing similar circumstances’.
Transformational leaders pay attention to individual and per-
sonal difference in needs development and growth and provide
necessary resources to help followers to realize their dreams.
Positive human resource management practices such as staffing,
training, performance appraisal, and compensation systems are
the means whereby leaders express their individual considera-
tion of employees.
According to Bontis and Fitz-enz (2002), the human asset in
an organization is a direct result of knowledge base, talent, and
experiences attained by its diverse work force: Henceforth, the
increased level of entrepreneurial drive further triggers the ex-
istence of distinguishable differences in individual entrepreneu-
rial behavior (Armstrong & Hird, 2009). While specifically
emphasizing human capital, resource-based theory of the firm
states that core competencies, in other words, rare, valuable,
inimitable, and non-transferable human capital have greater
potential to contribute to achieve and sustain competitive ad-
vantage through creativity (Prahalad & Hamel, 1990). The
findings of one case study by Pelz and Andrews (1976) on
creativeness of engineers confirmed that the workers who
maintained distinctive work styles and strategies are great
sources of organizational creativity. Effective and continuous
leadership retain the maximum potential to create suitable or-
ganizational climate that encourages and support creativity and
innovation. Innovation correlates strongly with a person’s per-
ception of whether or not he is expected to be innovative.
On the basis of literature review following hypotheses were
● “Transformational leadership” is positively linked to crea-
tivity as compared with the other leadership or management
directions (i.e., controlling or passive management or lead-
● “Organizational creativity” is positively linked to work
teams marked by individual differences.
In the current case study, the authors combined the especially
devised questionnaires having the open-ended queries, informal
interviews and group discussions to investigate the current
S. A. Z. KAZMI, M. NAARANOJA
practices. Feedback from the selected sample size of 35 re-
spondents representing the targeted localities (i.e., Laihia and
Vähäkyrö) was obtained. The selected sample represented the
cross hierarchical levels (i.e., senior management, line man-
agement and staff etc.) as well as multidisciplinary background
(i.e., Physiotherapy units, Child and mother care units, Den-
tistry units or the general physician units etc.
In the research process, the authors selected transactional
leadership and laissez-faire leadership styles against transfor-
mation leadership style, which is acknowledged as the leader-
ship style to support organizational transformation through
innovative processes (Avolio, Bass, & Jung, 1999; Avolio,
1999; McShane & VonGlinow, 2000).
The questions included in the research inventory were pre-
pared to link the aspects of three styles of leadership (i.e; trans-
actional leadership, transformational leadership and lais-
sez-faire) with creativity and diversity to gauge their level of
interconnectivity through their levels of presence in the current
working environment. This exercise will further support the
process of collaborative innovation, recently injected within the
targeted work environments in the OSUVA project. The analy-
sis of the research results included 35 respondents to investigate
the current working practices and their impact on the aimed
process of organizational transformation initiatives in the
The properties used in the current research process are as
● Accurate measurement of exposure level of three different
leadership styles (i.e., transactional leadership, laissez-faire
leadership and transformation leadership),
● Measurement of expected connection between the impact of
transformational leadership and individual differences,
● The level of group member’s desire to change overall per-
formance through their participatory creative actions.
To analyze the effects of tri-dimensional leadership on the
target sample, having the mix of Individual Differences (ID),
linking creativity aspect, specialized question statements were
designed to test the hypotheses:
Table 1 reflects of sample questions areas on leadership
trends with the linkage of creativity and individual difference
aspects with specific reference to the target environment. In
addition, the question items shown in Table 1 included in the
research inventory, took the leadership theme from Multifactor
Leadership Questionnaire, short form introduced by Bass and
Avolio (1992) through modification according to the study
needs i.e., to trigger variety in performance patterns by the
respondents reflecting the basis of individual difference.
The research results on the basis of respondents’ response
patterns for the desired leadership process with regards to the
attractiveness among three management leadership styles (i.e.,
transactional leadership, laissez-faire leadership styles and
transformation leadership style) to support organizational crea-
tivity through individual differences are as follows.
The study results constituting the above figure, confirms the
desired attractiveness for “Transformational Leadership”
against transactional leadership or laissez-faire leadership styles
to support organizational creativity through unique individual
efforts. 76% of the respondents reflected their dissatisfaction
over the current management style referring it as too controlled
Sample question based on three types of leadership styles (i.e., transac-
tional leadership and laissez-faire leadership styles against transforma-
tion leadership) to identify the best fit of leadership trend to trigger
creativity aspect highlighting individual difference among the work-
Sr. No.Sample Question Items reflecting three management
1 Describe your involvement in your organization's current
2 Describe your organization’s leadership culture?
3 How would you rate the current level of trust between you
and your supervisor?
4 How usually you share any new idea about work improve-
ment proposal if it comes to your mind?
5 What factors do you think contribute in the level of trust
between the employee and the supervisor? Stress to achieve
6 How would you rate your job autonomy?
7 Did the senior management take your opinion on focused
areas while framing the rules for the new co-operation area?
8 What you feel has changed, in the new cooperation area,
which could not be considered as having positive impact?
9 How to co-operate to promote employees’ sense of com-
mitment at work?
10 How passionately you feel about your work?
11 Are you doing exactly what motivates you to do at the work
12 How management supports and encourages employee par-
ticipation in innovation?
13 How would you describe the confidence level as part of the
relationship between employee and supervisor?
14 Why you are working at this health center?
15 Could you tell some examples of innovation that you’ve been
involved in producing a profit area here?
16 What is your understanding about innovation and how to
evaluate its significance as part of your work?
to encourage and promote creativity, due to the pressures like
rush of work and lengthy reporting hierarchical processes and
channels. The 62% respondents comments reflected their desire
for transformational leadership style of management, 24%
supported transactional style of leadership while 14% respon-
dents favored laissez-faire leadership by refusing to offer com-
ments. Few responses by the case respondents to justify the
above finding are quoted below where the respondents re-
marked at the current controlling management style as a source
of blockage or slowdown in creative thinking process within
the case environment.
● When new idea arises- we think for a very long time and if
we find it really worthy enough only then share with super-
visors or colleagues.
● I contribute to the innovation process, currently very little;
only where it is possible though currently the resources are
● I feel that innovation here can be managed only if more
workforces be provided.
● Monthly meetings are the source of exchanging work re-
lated ideas here; however, it takes weeks and months to ar-
range a meeting for some out of routine exchanges of
The results reflected through Figure 1 and the above box
with the respondents’ remarks, confirmed that the lack of crea-
tive initiatives in the case environment are mostly due to the
Open Access 75
S. A. Z. KAZMI, M. NAARANOJA
Intellec tualStim ulat ion
Results reflecting for the desired Leadership process with regards to the
three Management leadership styles to promote creativity through di-
versity in workforce.
transactional and laissez-faire leadership styles being imple-
mented there. Furthermore, the above confirms that the absence
of transformational leadership from the case environment
causes the lack of creative initiatives by the reporting staff. This
confirms the first hypothesis of the case study confirming the
positive linkage between creativity and transformational lead-
On the basis of the variety among the respondents’ response
behaviors and character reflections, the authors have divided
them into four categories; Action initiators, Conscious thinkers,
Risk aversive, and Smart reactors (but late starters). The figure
below reflects the results patterns of the respondents of through
their responses after being exposed to the management leader-
ship styles related feedback sessions through open discussions
and interviews. The respondents are denoted by the first two
alphabets of their corresponding behavioral categories in Fig-
ures 1 and 2 (i.e., AI for Action Initiators, CT for Conscious
thinkers, RA for Risk Aversive and SR or Smart reactors).
The figure below represents the respondents’ behavior wise
categorization, in terms of transformational leadership’s four
dimensional scale (i.e., Idealized Influence, Inspirational Moti-
vation, intellectual stimulation, and Individualized Considera-
Since our earlier hypothesis confirmation, revealed the case
environment as being highly dominated by transactional style
of leadership, the next phase of study results, displayed through
Figure 2 further confirmed low level of action initiation initia-
tive i.e., 21%, and high levels of risk averseness i.e., 38% fol-
lowed by conscious thinking i.e., 23% amongst the respon-
dents’ behavior patterns. In addition, 19% behavior pattern
presence was noted on smart reactors category of the respon-
● Thinking about new ideas is easy but implementation is
difficult, time is a limitation to collaborate for innovation.
● First think and then take it to the supervisors—“Physiother-
apy is an independent task so the personal authority is
available” reflected lack of trust on seniors.
The study results highlighted through represented the underly-
ing concept of “differential psychology” by providing clear
evidences for the role of “individual differences”, (i.e., here in
the form of smart reactors), among the human behavior patterns
through their responses, as the result of the differences in their
personality, traits, upbringing, earlier experiences intellectual
The previous response example negates the targeted work
Results reflect the impact of leadership on the performance levels of
study participants, through four leadership dimensions highlighted by
environments as supportive towards innovation and creativity.
A significant factor which is linked positively to innovation is
the degree to which the organizational workforce retains enjoys
the freedom to exert influence upon decision making (Pelz &
In the study, the prominent examples are the behavioral pat-
terns shown by the respondents’ category “smart reactors (SR)”.
The respondents belonging to the SR category showed low
responsiveness towards “intellectual stimulation” and “inspira-
tional motivation” though they do not lack confidence level.
However, the responded like action initiator category, respond-
ing sharply to “intellectual stimulation” and “inspirational mo-
tivation”. The comparative response patterns shown by the
respondent numbers 1, 5, 11, 18, 21 and 30 are the case exam-
ples of the smart reactors, proving the presence of individual
differences or the impact of diversity.
● I use balance score card method as a judgmental tool for
decision making with in my working area as an individual
● I use my personally designed methods of bandages applica-
tion on the patients.
In addition, respondent’s numbers 2, 7, 15, 20, 23, 33 and 34
categorized as “action initiators” reflected lower levels on “In-
dividual efforts” which is contradictory pattern of behavior for
their associated category affiliation. It again proves the pres-
ence of individual differences where the respondents acted
differently from their usual response patterns. The highlight of
the response pattern shown by the respondents category of
“smart reactors” is that they initially behaved like late starters
as in the cases of “risk aversive” or the “conscious thinkers”, by
reacting lower on “intellectual stimulation” and “inspirational
motivation”. However, with the passage of time, the smart re-
actors radically changed their response patterns by matching the
ones similar to the “action initiators” i.e., reacting more to “in-
tellectual stimulation” and “inspirational motivation”.
Conscious thinker category (i.e., respondent number, 3, 4, 6,
9, 10, 13, 19 and 32) showed low responsiveness towards in-
spirational motivation and further showed reduced levels of
responsiveness towards intellectual stimulation. Such behavior
pattern showed reliance on the elements like, “management by
exception” as well as “contingent reward” as key resources for
In general, the respondents belonging to the “risk averse”
category showed low responsiveness towards “intellectual stimu-
lation”. According to the study results respondents numbers 8,
12, 14, 16, 17, 22, 24, 25, 26 and 27 fell in the risk aversive
S. A. Z. KAZMI, M. NAARANOJA
Open Access 77
category by responding favorably to the category of manage-
ment by exception, which is a contrasting behavior than that
was expected from them, confirming the logic of “individual
differences” or diversity factor once again.
Case examples for the above referred responds styles are that
when one respondent mentioned her effort to initiate the usage
of balance score card method or similar specialized skills
within their work departments on their own initiatives. This
confirms the individual differences as a source of organiza-
tional creativity through supportive leadership style i.e., trans-
formational leadership. Henceforth, the above, in addition to
the results reflection through Figure 2 proved the second hy-
pothesis of the case study:
Creativity is positively linked with the individual differ-
ences through transformational leadership.
The general trend reflected through the results of the study
confirmed the enhanced levels of desire for “transformational
leadership” in comparison with the passive and controlling
management styles as a solution for creativity, by almost all the
Discussion and Conclusion
The study provides basis for the implementation of “trans-
formational leadership” as being the attractive management
choice amongst the other management choices (i.e., Passive
Management and the Controlling Management styles) to
achieve the maximum level of group members attention and
effort to display personal actions of organizational creativity
through their working behaviors. Though, the study revealed
evidences of “individual differences” in few cases by certain
employees (e.g., using balance score card methods or similar
creative initiatives on their own) seems as an uncontrolled
phenomenon to support creativity since the present organiza-
tional management style is predominantly characterized either
as controlling or passive management styles.
Henceforth, the above facts convinced the authors that if
such evidences can occur in the organizational environment,
which is heavily dominated by controlling style of management,
then so much more creative work patterns can be promoted
through transformational leadership in the organizational
In addition, the research method which was introduced in the
study provided a general framework for the management ex-
perts as a solution for maximum utilization of their human re-
sources through effective selection of management style and
protecting the workforce diversity to promote and display or-
ganizational creativity and effective human resource utilization
to ensure industrial operational effectiveness. The authors con-
clude the study done by quoting Pelz and Andrews (1976):
A research team with members having diverse back-
grounds helps building effectively stimulating intellectual
work environment that can offer the analysis of problems
from a broader perspective and guide to offer innovative
ways of problems solving.
Future Research Avenues
Our research effort can open following avenues for further
research and testing:
● How to establish the in-house management capacity to de-
velop optimal work teams during the emergency tasks?
● Can a single method for resource development be consid-
ered useful for all types of Industrial set-ups (i.e., services
and production industries)?
The same research results can be re-validated by the use of
aggressive statistical methods to extend the study.
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