Disobeying the Leader: Creative Deviance as a Mechanism Between Psychological Ownership and Social Undermining

Jigyashu Shukla, Rebecca Bennett, Robert Folger, Ronit Kark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many innovative products are attributable to employees disobeying the mandate of their supervisors to stop working on a creative idea, that is, creative deviance. Surprisingly, there has been a dearth of empirical research on this important construct, and the possible negative social outcomes of creative deviance remain unexplored. This research integrates psychological ownership theory and motivated information processing theory to theoretically delineate psychological ownership as an antecedent of creative deviance. We further explore social undermining as a negative outcome of creative deviance and investigate the leader–member exchange (LMX) as a boundary condition of the association between creative deviance and social undermining. In a series of three studies, we validate an existing scale for creative deviance, and utilize multiple methods to test our full moderated-mediation model. Findings suggest that creative deviance partially mediates the relationship between psychological ownership and experienced social undermining and LMX attenuates the relationship between creative deviance and experienced social undermining. Our research has important theoretical and practical implications as it explores the darker sides of creative deviance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-24
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Leadership and Organizational Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Authors 2024.


  • LMX
  • behavior management
  • creative deviance
  • psychological ownership
  • relationships


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