Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?: The Influence of Leader Style, Distance, and Leader-Follower Mental Model Congruence on Creative Performance

Academic Article


  • Leaders have been classified as having charismatic, ideological, or pragmatic (CIP) leadership styles, each characterized by distinct patterns in cognition and interaction. Although each CIP style has been shown to facilitate certain aspects of the creative process for followers, questions remain regarding the impact of leadership style on overall follower creative performance. One factor likely to influence this relationship is leader distance, composed of the physical distance, perceived social distance, and perceived task interaction among leaders and followers. Past research has also emphasized the role of leaders’ mental models as they relate to follower performance. Less understood, however, is how the mental models of followers may affect this process. Using the CIP model of leadership, this study explores leader distance and leader–follower mental model congruence on follower creative performance. Results indicated that while leadership style does not directly influence follower creativity, it interacts with leader distance to shape creative outcomes. Results further indicated that while general mental model congruence is not predictive, alignment on specific mental model dimensions contributes to enhanced creative performance among followers. Implications and future research directions are discussed.
  • Authors

  • Griffith, Jennifer
  • Gibson, Carter
  • Medeiros, Kelsey
  • MacDougall, Alexandra
  • III, Hardy Jay
  • Mumford, Michael D
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • May 2018
  • Keywords

  • CIP model
  • creativity
  • followership
  • leader distance
  • leadership style
  • mental models
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 153
  • End Page

  • 170
  • Volume

  • 25
  • Issue

  • 2