Innovative Leadership and KM

Two Types of Innovative Leadership: Application to Knowledge Management Initiatives

Amar (1998) observed that organizations whose success depends on innovation require a leadership style totally different from the one typically used by most leaders. Whereas leaders of traditional organizations succeed on their ability to artfully manipulate their environment, innovation leadership emanates from manager’s creative initiatives, intellectual preeminence, and technical or unique expertise that is of value to each individual in the group and which translates to direct benefit for all (Amar, 1998).

The literature distinguishes two types of innovation leadership: the transformational-transactional leadership model in the organizational behavior literature, and the leadership role model in the innovation management literature (Bossink, 2004). In the organizational behavior literature, leadership relates to: the personal traits of the leader such as intelligence, values and physical appearance; the leader’s behavior such as the use of power, the control of rewards and the delegation of authority; and the organizational situation the leader is in such as the structure, age and environment.

The innovation management literature presents leadership as a role to be performed by managers but also by employees. These roles are: inventor: the leader promotes the technological know-how that is translated into innovative products and services; champion: the leader promotes organizational adoption of innovations; entrepreneur: the leader initiates, drives and controls the innovation strategies and processes in the organization; gatekeeper: the leader gathers and processes information about changes in the organization and its environment; and sponsor.

Bossink (2004) identified four leadership styles in the innovation leadership roles: 1) charismatic: the leader communicates an innovation vision, energizes others to innovate, and accelerates innovation processes; 2) instrumental: the leader structures and controls innovation processes; 3) strategic: the leader uses hierarchical power in favor of organizational innovation; 4) interactive: the leader empowers other to innovate, cooperates with them to innovate and shows them how to become innovation leaders in the organization themselves.

My question is: How could we apply these two types of innovative leadership to a knowledge management initiative?


Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

456 replies on “Two Types of Innovative Leadership: Application to Knowledge Management Initiatives”

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