Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type

Embargoed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Elizabeth Goryunova, PhD

Second Advisor

Tarynne Scott

Third Advisor

Dan Jenkins, PhD


authentic leadership, authenticity, innovation, creativity, creative performance, leadership, entrepreneurship, Leadership and Organizational Studies


This study examines the relationship and trends between authentic leadership and creative performance and innovation in modern-day entrepreneurship. The main findings of existing literature suggest that authentic leadership instills individual authenticity which encourages an atmosphere for creativity, or creative performance, to thrive. Authenticity is said to directly influence creative performance by stimulating and sustaining original ideas. Authenticity also indirectly influences innovation by supporting the individual, thus supporting an organization’s uniquely diverse culture, resulting in outcomes that stand out in the field. This qualitative research utilizes interviews to explore these statements by looking at creative performance and innovative success through the lens of modern-day entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is an opportunity to not only experience the influence of authentic leadership but to also experience the freedom of expression that can lead to novel ideas. This study hypothesized that authenticity and creativity are related and share characteristics that arise from the influence of authentic leadership. Ten entrepreneurial individuals participated. Each of them was asked a series of questions related to creativity, goals, authentic leadership influences and the self-perceived impact of such influence on creative performance. The analysis of collected data in this study suggest that self-awareness mediates the relationship between authentic leadership and creative performance. Self-awareness is a shared characteristic of authenticity and creativity.