Open Journal of Social Sciences, 2014, 2, 48-53
Published Online September 2014 in SciRes. http://www.scirp.org/journal/jss
How to cite this paper: Lin, M. (2014) An Exploration on the Relationship of Transformational leadership, Innovation At-
mosphere and E-Commerce Organization Innovation. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 2, 48-53.
An Exploration on the Relationship of
Transformational leadership, Innovation
Atmosphere and E-Commerce Organization
Asia University, Taichung City, Taiwan, PRC
Received May 2014
In the knowledge economy, the innovation already became the motivation of foundation
for organization growth, especially for E-commerce organizations. Business organiza-
tions should consider how their organizational innovations for all aspects of resource
optimization to increase efficiency. The purpose of this study is to build some conceptual
models in transformational leadership, innovation atmosphere and E-commerce organi-
zation innovation. Through the questionnaire survey procedure in some E-commerce
corporations in Zhe Jiang, this research takes correlation analysis and regression ana-
lysis. We discovered: both transformational leadership and innovation atmosphere have
the remarkable influence on E-commerce organization innovation. We also find the
differences of effects and their interactions directly between the transformational leader-
ship, innovation climate and the dimension degrees on E-commerce organization innova-
Transformational Leadership, Innovation Atmosphere, E-Commerce Organization Innovation
The 21st century is the era of knowledge economy, innovation will be as the basis for progress in organization’s
sustainable development, and the market competition also has become fiercer. Especially, E-commerce organi-
zations are facing more uncertainly challenges. However, how to adapting to the new situation or improving or-
ganizational capability and effectiveness? The innovation is played a remarkable role. But, how to maintain the
innovation level of organization? What are the factors that affect directly innovation? In the whole innovation
process, the first resource comes from leader; the leadership style will be also the important indicator in organi-
zational innovation. Previous studies have also pointed out that leadership style is the biggest environmental
factor affecting achievements of subordinates, morale and satisfaction, which also is one of variables of affect-
ing the achievements of an organization. During the past 20 years, some researchers think the innovation climate
have gradually become more and more important. Ekvall & Ryhammar’s study found that atmosphere of an or-
ganization is mainly in the charge of the leadership behavior, culture and values of it . This research is start-
ing from the leadership style and study the correlation between transformational leadership and innovative at-
mosphere of an organization. Assuming transformational leadership style is a variable, this paper analyzed whe-
ther it influences E-commerce organization innovation or not. Then assumed innovation climate be another va-
riable, observing the relevance of various dimensions. Thus, it provides references to executives’ control and
adjustment of leadership style in practice of management.
2. Theoretical Background and Hypotheses
2.1. Transformational Leadership Style
Transformational leadership belongs to a factor of leadership and is a leadership behaviour that inspires his sub-
ordinates to make performance which exceed the expectation . Integrating belief in one’s ability and forming
positive feelings is concerned by transformational leadership . This understanding indicates that the leader is
clear about principal value and task in the organization as well as the final objective the enterprise determine to
fulfill . Transformational leaders encourage followers to view problems from new perspectives (intellectual
stimulation), provide support and encouragement (individualized consideration), communicate a vision (inspira-
tional motivation), and engender emotion and identification (charisma), while transactional leaders motivate
subordinates through the use of contingent rewards, corrective actions (passive management by exception), and
rule enforcement (active management by exception) . “Transformational leadership style scale”, developed
by B. J. Avolio, is adopted during the measurement of Transformational leadership dimensions. This scale is di-
vided into idealized influence, inspiration motivation, intellectual stimulation, individualized consideration .
2.2. Organizational Innovation Atmosphere
Research on the organizational innovation atmosphere began in the 1960s. Some relevant scholars (for example:
Ekvall, Iisaksen, Amabile, Britz, Tesluk) expounded their own views respectively for the definition of organiza-
tional innovation atmosphere  , while Chinese scholars also gave their opinions in succession. Scholars Liu
Yun and Shi Jintao think that organizational innovation atmosphere is a perception of organization members
support organization environmental innovation . Chen Baojie thinks that the trait of organization innovation
atmosphere is that organization should have a kind of atmosphere in which everyone believes innovation is an
opportunity, not a threat. Individuals with creative potential are willing and able to release their potential to
promote the organizational innovation performance . Through in-depth analysis and talking with some rele-
vant scholars and the key position employees, this dissertation has designed an organizational innovation at-
mosphere questionnaire of E-commerce organization from scholars Liu Yun and Shi Jintao’s scale. Because this
scale is based on our country’s actual situation. In the questionnaire, the design of the options used by five cate-
gories (specific dimensions: manager support, organization concept, team support, resource supply, task charac-
From the arguments bring forth above, we specify the following hypotheses to focus our empirical investiga-
Hypothesis 1: Transformational leadership is positively related to innovation atmosphere.
Hypothesis 2: Transformational leadership is related to E-commerce organization innovation.
Hypothesis 3: Innovation atmosphere is related to E-commerce organization innovation.
Hypothesis 4: Innovation atmosphere change mediates the relationship between transformational leadership
and E-commerce organization innovation.
3.1. Scale Design
Measurement of competent leadership style is on the basis of the multi-factor leadership questionnaire (MLQ)
Figure 1. Research model.
complied by Bass, also combine B. J. Avolio’s research, This scale is used for measuring transformational lea-
dership is divided into idealized influence, inspiration motivation, intellectual stimulation, individualized con-
sideration. The questionnaire in this study used five-point scale of Likert-type, and the descriptions of the beha-
vior of each question from low to high level of knowledge are divided into “never,” “rarely,” “sometimes,”
“frequently” and “always” five levels, which tried to be chosen in turn by actual cognitive degree of transforma-
tional leadership style.
“Organizational innovation atmosphere assessment scale in china”, developed by scholars Liu Yun and Shi
Jintao, is adopted during the measurement of Organizational innovation atmosphere. In the questionnaire, the
design of the options used by five category: manager support, organization concept, team support, resource
supply, task characteristic) The five-point scale of Likert-type is also adopted during this measurement, and re-
spectively is “never,” “rarely,” “sometimes,” “frequently” and “always” five levels, which tried to be chosen in
turn by actual cognitive degree of organizational innovation climate.
“E-commerce organizational innovation scale” modified by the scale of Educational Organization innovation
measurement mainly refers to the study of the Wang’s. The five-point scale of Likert-type is also adopted during
this measurement, and respectively is “never,” “rarely,” “sometimes,” “frequently” and “always” five levels,
which tried to be chosen in turn by actual cognitive degree of organizational innovation climate
This study focused on the relationship between leadership style and innovation atmosphere in E-commerce or-
ganization, its scope of investigation is region of Zhe Jiang. We select 34 E-commerce organizations to analyze.
Because of having better research cooperation with the companies mentioned above, we adopted a way of
door-to-door investigation. In total, 350 questionnaires were distributed, 298 questionnaires were returned. By
deleting those duplicate or incomplete data, fifty-five percent raters were female. Most of the raters (56%) are
general staff, Five of the selected organizations are foreign wholly owned enterprises; eight of them are joint
ventures; two of them are state-owned companies; nineteen of them are private enterprises. With regard to the
organizational size, three of the selected organizations own over 500 employees; others own less 500 employees.
We first ran a preliminary statistic analysis with all of the survey items to test the scales’ psychometric proper-
ties. Deleting some items by factor analysis, we still retain 9 items for transformational leadership, 5 items for
Innovation atmosphere. Coefficient of each variable was over 0.82, which indicated the questionnaire used had
Table 1 shows descriptive statistics and intercorrelations among the scales.
1. Every dimension of transformational leadership and E-commerce organization innovation were signifi-
cantly positive correlated.
2. Dimensions of innovation atmosphere and E-commerce organization innovation were significantly positive
Table 1. Descriptive statistics and intercorrelations among scale (N = 298).
Variables 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Idealized influence 0.975**
Individual consideration 0.945** 0.876**
Inspiration motivation 0.900** 0.832** 0.787**
Intellectual stimulation 0.978** 0.946** 0.911** 0.855**
Innovation atmosphere 0.765** 0.691** 0.765** 0.721** 0.733**
Manager support 0.754** 0.735** 0.721** 0.705** 0.718** 0.888**
Organization concept 0.746** 0.656** 0.742** 0.690** 0.735** 0.926** 0.836**
Team support 0.678** 0.588** 0.718** 0.654** 0.633** 0.839** 0.706** 0.733**
Resource supply 0.735** 0.678** 0.720** 0.691** 0.708** 0.942** 0.776** 0.863** 0.791**
Take characteristic 0.602** 0.545** 0.581** 0.595** 0.571** 0.930** 0.769** 0.783** 0.816** 0.871**
E-commerce innovation 0.786** 0.766** 0.788** 0.745** 0.728** 0.885** 0.766** 0.779** 0.812** 0.901** 0.790**
Table 2. Regression results (transformational leadership and innovation atmosphere).
Transformational leadership Idealized influence
Innovation atmosphere 6.689** 5.392** 6.534** 5.976** 6.072**
Adjusted R2 0.853 0.475 0.571 0.527 0.536
ΔF 44.742 28.051 42.776 35.694 36.854
3. Dimensions of innovation atmosphere and transformational leadership were significantly positive corre-
lated. It indicates the level of transformational leadership style higher, the innovation atmosphere will be better.
(1) The relationship between transformational leadership and innovation atmosphere
Assume four dimensions of transformational leadership be independent variables, innovation atmosphere be
dependent variables, calculate by regression analysis (Table 2). The result shows transformational leadership
has a positive relationship with innovation atmosphere. We can see that hypothesis of H1 is supported by em-
(2) The relationship between transformational leadership and E-commerce organization innovation
Assume four dimensions of transformational leadership be independent variables, E-commerce organization
innovation be dependent variables, calculate by regression analysis (Table 3). The result shows transformational
leadership has a positive relationship with E-commerce organization innovation. We can see that hypothesis of
H2 is supported by empirical data.
(3) The relationship between innovation atmosphere and E-commerce organization innovation
Assume five dimensions of innovation atmosphere be independent variables, E-commerce organization inno-
vation be dependent variables, calculate by regression analysis (Table 4 below). The result shows innovation
atmosphere has a positive relationship with E-commerce organization innovation. We can see that hypothesis of
H3 is supported by empirical data.
(4) The mediator-innovation atmosphere
In the model 1, assume transformational leadership be independent variables, results shows transformational
leadership has a positive relation with innovation atmosphere. In the model 2, assume transformational leader-
ship be independent variables, results shows transformational leadership has a positive relation with E-com-
merce organization innovation. In the model 3, assume innovation atmosphere be independent variables, results
shows innovation atmosphere has a positive relation with E-commerce organization innovation. In the model 4,
assume transformational leadership and innovation atmosphere be independent variables, results shows both
transformational leadership and innovation atmosphere has a positive relation with E-commerce organization
innovation, but the regression coefficient become lower, that indicates innovation atmosphere has a mediating
effect (Table 5). Thus, hypotheses 4 is supported.
The empirical results show that transformational leadership style and innovation atmosphere both have highly
positive correlation with E-commerce organization innovation. The innovation atmosphere has a mediating ef-
fect between transformational leadership and E-commerce organization innovation, according to previous lite-
rature, which means transformational leaders should use power wisely and situational factors to motivate em-
ployees’ willing and ability to innovative and change and to give subordinates authority to help them develop-
Table 3. Regression results (transformational leadership and E-commerce organization innovation).
Transformational leadership Idealized influence
innovation 7.171** 6.714** 6.381** 6.316** 6.172**
Adjusted R2 0.5913 0.562 0.546 0.517 0.530
ΔF 51.441 45.094 40.706 39.845 38.224
Table 4. Regression results (innovation atmosphere and E-commerce organization innovation).
Innovation atmosphere Manager support Organizational
concept Team support Resource supply
innovation 10.675** 6.721** 6.858** 7.852** 11.765** 7.355**
Adjusted R2 0.7743 0.558 0.587 0.678 0.807 0.618
ΔF 113.961 45.144 47.746 61.677 138.24 54.21
Table 5. Regression results (mediating effect).
Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4
Innovation atmosphere E-commerce innovation E-commerce innovation E-commerce innovation
leadership 10.675*** 7.172*** 2.186***
atmosphere 10.675*** 5.626***
R2 0.781 0.616 0.781 0.81
ΔF 113.961 51.441 113.961 66.906
their potential to achieve organizational goals. It can propose the following recommendations for the high-level
managers. First, the leaders should introduce emotional quotient (EQ) in the leadership process to make them-
selves more attractive. In this way, when improving leadership efficiency and creating enterprise’s high perfor-
mance, improving employee innovation. Second, the leaders should take care of the needs of employees, and
make timely exchange and communication with them, encourage employees to innovate more. Third, the leaders
could, through intellectual stimulation, encourage employees to think independently, to make use of new me-
thods to complete the task and to appreciate a sense of accomplishment in the work. Finally, the leaders can also
use inspirational motivation to effectively convey the organization’s vision to the employees, so that they will
look forward the future development in optimism and hope, and thus produce a strong working motivation and a
high motivation atmosphere.
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