* Featured in Academy of Management Insights.
This paper presents a research model for the creation of organizational value through leading by example. I argue that leading by example serves as a unique value-creation driver by enhancing engagement, productivity, and service quality at the business level. Using a strategy-based resource management framework, I also argue that there are synergies between leading by example and the manifestation of organizational core values. My theory is grounded in the strategy-based notion that combining organizational resources—leading by example (practical element) and organizational core values (conceptual element)—optimizes employee engagement, which in turn enhances productivity and service quality. I examine my model empirically using two-time-point panel data derived from three different sources (employees, financial data, and secret shoppers) in a sample of 233 retail stores. The findings provide evidence that leading by example improves productivity and service quality (after taking into account the potential influence of charismatic leadership). The indirect effect of leading by example on productivity and service quality (through engagement) is even stronger when manifestation of organizational core values is high. Contributions to theory, research, and practice are presented.
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