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Lam, TK 2012, 'The influence of team trust, potency and leadership on the intent to share knowledge and team creativity', DBA thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Copyright TK Lam 2012


Although several studies have investigated the factors that make for effective teams, few have investigated what factors increase team creativity. Therefore, the objective of this study is to investigate the relationship between team behavior, intent to share knowledge, and team creativity. Creativity becomes more important to organizations as they look beyond short-term profits by developing innovative products that enable them to survive in the long run (Elsbach & Hargadon, 2006; Oldham & Cummings, 1996). But the type of creativity that is helpful to organizations rarely occurs in isolation. It is usually a result of an interaction of leaders, individuals, teams, and their knowledge (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996). So organizations are focusing on teamwork to boost creativity. Based on a literature review of team creativity, this paper establishes a theoretical framework that identifies two important factors: the team members’ intent to share knowledge and team potency. But the intent to share knowledge and team potency is also influenced by team trust and team leadership. Team potency has a positive impact on team members’ intent to share knowledge.

This study uses quantitative surveys to explore team creativity. All participants were employees from large organizations across different industries and locations in Hong Kong and Mainland China. The 486 qualifying participants, in which 65 from Hong Kong and the remaining 421 from other Mainland China cities, had all worked on a project team within the past 2 years. The members of the teams had met face to face or in virtual space on a regular basis more than one year. It was assumed that people who worked in a team environment were knowledgeable about working in a team. All collected information was strictly confidential. Descriptive data such as means and standard deviations were calculated. Reliability coefficients were calculated for each measure. Data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) and SmartPLS.

The results indicated that a higher level of team trust was strongly associated with intent to share knowledge within the team. Teams with higher trust also had greater team potency within the team. Team leadership affected the intent to share knowledge and team potency. Furthermore, teams with higher potency beliefs had stronger intent to share knowledge. Team creativity also increased intent to share knowledge. Finally, teams with stronger potency beliefs also had greater team creativity. Results also indicated that team creativity had a positive impact on team potency and that team leadership positively influenced team creativity through the mediating effect of team potency.

The findings from this research can help organizations understand more about the relationship between team behavior, the intent to share knowledge, and team creativity. Team members in the companies will also be able to gain insight into how teamwork can increase their team creativity. The research intends to grant these team members greater knowledge and understanding of the importance of leadership in order to enhance team creativity. Improving team creativity may improve the products and services of organizations. The newly developed products and services can satisfy more people’s needs and wants, which can improve quality of life. In turn, this may benefit the community in general.