Distributed leadership (DL) and leader-member exchange (LMX) are highly relevant for fostering teachers’ innovative work behavior (IWB). Based on self-determination theory, we hypothesized that the satisfaction of the basic psychological needs (BPNS) for autonomy, competence, and relatedness plays a major role in mediating these relationships. To investigate this assumption, we executed a quantitative survey study among secondary education teachers involving a time-lag design with two points of measurement (N(T1) = 654 and N(T2) = 293). For hypothesis testing we employed structural equation modelling (SEM) and found support for most of our assumptions: DL (at T1) enhanced teachers’ IWB (at T2) by fueling BPNS (at T1 and T2) (indirect effects: autonomy (T1/T2): β =.10/.09, p <.10/.01; competence (T1/T2): β =.09/.10, p <.01/.01; relatedness (T1/T2): β =.00/.08, ns/p <.01). Conversely, LMX (at T1) hardly exerted its effect through BPNS (at T1 and T2) but was directly connected to teachers’ IWB (at T2) (indirect effects: autonomy (T1/T2): β =.06/.07, p <.10/.01; competence (T1/T2): β =.01/.04, ns/ns; relatedness (T1/T2): β =.00/.03, ns/p <.10; direct effects (T1/T2): β =.15/.09, p <.05/ns). Therefore, to promote teachers’ IWB, school leaders should not only focus on the relationship quality with teachers, but also on the informal distribution of leadership practice and, more generally, to the creation of an environment that bolsters teachers’ BPNS. Moreover, future research may explore these relationships in other educational sectors as well as in non-profit organizations.
- Basic Psychological Needs Satisfaction
- Distributed Leadership
- Innovative Work Behavior
- Lead-Member Exchange
- Structural Equation Modeling