Asia Pacific Education Review

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 657–671 | Cite as

Linking empowering leadership to innovative behavior in professional learning communities: the role of psychological empowerment and team psychological safety

  • Jinjie Zhu
  • Jihai YaoEmail author
  • Lili Zhang


This study investigates the mediating role of teachers’ psychological empowerment and the moderating role of team psychological safety in the relationship between empowering leadership and teachers’ innovative behavior in teaching and research groups (TR groups) as professional learning communities. In total, 507 teachers from 114 TR groups in China participated in this study. The multilevel model results show that empowering leadership improves teachers’ innovative behavior by increasing teachers’ psychological empowerment, which is not influenced by team psychological safety. A supplementary analysis shows that the relationship between team psychological safety and teachers’ innovative behavior is also mediated by psychological empowerment.


Empowering leadership Psychological empowerment Teacher innovative behavior Team psychological safety Professional learning community Teaching and research group 



We thank Fu Qiong, Xiang Xiaotong, and You Yushi from Beijing Normal University for participating in this research. Furthermore, we thank Jiang Na, Michelle Pascoe and Dr. Kwok Kuen Tsang for polishing a draft of this manuscript.


This study is funded by the 2018 Comprehensive Discipline Construction Fund of Faculty of Education, Beijing Normal University, and Beijing Office for Education Sciences Planning (AAFA16004).


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© Education Research Institute, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Faculty of Education, College of Educational AdministrationBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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