Leader-member exchange and frontline employees' innovative behaviors: the roles of employee happiness and service climate

Shaker Bani-Melhem, Mohd Ahmad Al-Hawari, Samina Quratulain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This research primarily aims to study the role of leader-member exchange (LMX) in frontline employees' (FLEs) innovative behaviors, whereby a mediating effect of employee happiness is proposed in this relationship. The moderating effect of service climate is also examined on the indirect effect of LMX on innovative behaviors through happiness. Design/methodology/approach: The study used a sample of 303 FLEs working in various service organizations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Structural equation modeling was used to test the proposed model. Findings: The findings show that LMX has a positive and significant effect on FLEs' innovative behaviors and that employee happiness is an intervening variable. Service climate moderates the indirect effect of LMX on FLEs' innovative behaviors through happiness, and the effect is stronger in a low (unsupported) service climate. Practical implications: The findings of this research provide prescriptive insights into the critical role of supervisory behavior in FLEs' innovative service behaviors and how positive emotions contribute to employees' willingness to innovate. Thus, these findings make a unique contribution to research in service management. Originality/value: Studies examining how and when LMX can affect FLEs' innovative behaviors are limited. These findings offer new insights into the relative importance of supervisor and organizational support (service climate) in FLEs' innovative behaviors. The interaction effect of LMX and service climate has not been previously examined along with positive employee affect (happiness) and innovative behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)540-557
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Productivity and Performance Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 21 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Employee happiness
  • FLEs
  • Innovative behavior
  • LMX
  • Service climate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business,Management and Accounting
  • Strategy and Management


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