How leader emotional labour is associated with creativity: A self-determination theory perspective

Bo Shao, Xiaoshuang Lin*, Jinyun Duan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Emotional labour is an important but overlooked leadership function. In the present research, we draw from the self-determination theory perspective and take a leader-centric approach to examine how different leader emotional labour strategies affect leaders' own creativity. Using data collected from 118 leaders and 352 team members at three time points, we found that leader surface acting harmed leader creativity by reducing fulfillment of leader autonomy, while leader deep acting boosted leader creativity by increasing fulfillment of leader autonomy. Neither did leader surface acting nor deep acting influence leader creativity through competence or relatedness fulfillment. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of the present research.

Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Psychology
Early online date28 Jun 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Shao, B., Lin, X., & Duan, J. (2022). How leader emotional labor is associated with creativity: A self-determination theory perspective. Applied Psychology, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited


  • creativity
  • deep acting
  • emotional labour
  • leadership
  • self-determination theory
  • surface acting


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