The Importance Of Creativity And Innovation In Business Leadership

The Characteristics of Successful Business Leaders

Successful people do very common things very differently. This difference lies in the use of creativity in what they do. The business leaders who have gained success in their fields have gift of creativity along with proper knowledge what to do, how to do and when to do. The fear of failure, self-defeating behavior and perfectionism inhibit creativity hence elusive. Thinking differently includes the function of knowledge, imagination, evaluation and curiosity. The greater is the knowledge base as well as level of curiosity, the more types of patterns and ideas will be evolving (Greenbaum et al. 2017). These gradually correlate to create innovative products and services. The process of different thinking, put emphasis on the action of discovery to gain ample knowledge about the process which will be later developed through unique thinking.

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In gaining success, the business leaders follow various means which are often unethical or unacceptable in the business moralities. The leaders or the managers of the companies often discriminate among the workers on the basis of race or gender. They behave harshly with the employees so that they can dominate them to increase production (Kets de Vries 1985). In addition to this the organizations have some responsibilities to the environment and society which they often avoid to perform. For sustainable growth, the elements of creativity and innovation need to be matched with the companies’ actions.

In order to innovate, the business need to be have creative ideas and for doing so, the business entrepreneurs need to think creatively. For being a successful entrepreneur, one therefore needs to think differently from the traditional structure (Askew, Beisler and Keel 2015). The successful entrepreneurs always want to stay at the top of their market or the industry. Hence they need to make some decisions which changes the structure and strategies of their companies. This aim of retaining the top most position in the industry, there is an importance of product and process innovation. The leaders need to have unique ideas so that they can innovate new business models.

According to the scholars like Overall (2016), the business leaders must not think traditionally or need not to follow the rules or theories blindly. Thinking out of the traditional views however have helped all the successful leaders. The rules and procedures of the organizations are used to increase the productivity of the employees and add valued to the current and potential customers. The successful business leaders need to experiment all new ideas so that they can reach to more customers in a unique way. The leaders should be experimenters, learners and then implementers of rules. To Vadastreanu, Maier and Maier (2015), the business leaders need to try different things without fear without thinking much about the consequences, otherwise they will not be able to achieve their expectations. The power of creative thinking in the business leaders gradually influence their employees and they can contribute in the development process of the companies. They may look outside of their own industries or markets so that they can discover possible new ideas and implement them in their own industries and in doing so, they must not be prevented by the issue of unethical behaviors can be accepted (Effelsberg, Solga and Gurt 2014). Sometimes the perfectionist leaders mix different ideas to create services from the current ones and develop new products from the current products.

Importance of Creativity and Innovation in Business

According to the theory of creative leadership, the leaders tend to create conditions that promote creativity in their organizations (Kilduff et al. 2016). Creating such conditions, often revered as supportive contributions have social material and psychological supports which enable as well as sustain the thinking of the others. In the year 2010, the IBM Global CEO research indicated that according to the polled CEOs, creative thinking was the most important factor to build successful business, outranking veracity and global thinking (Greenbaum et al. 2017). The fear of risk averse is the chief opposing factor which limits the innovation thinking process of the business leaders and compel them to maintain status quo. This also lead to fear of unethical behavior which most of the business leaders do not want to be associated with. However, the theories of creative leadership espouse that this unique thinking process may lead to unique style of actions which affect the stakeholders but help the business revenues greatly.

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The process of fostering and sharing new ideas or implementing them in the organizations may affect the ideology or ethical responsibilities of the organizations but for progressing in the competitive markets, the business leaders need to act according to their unique ideas. Searching for recognizable patterns in the disconnected domains may question the responsibilities of the organizations or result in issues but these are all short term and the creative leaders follow the long term goals. This helps to challenge the outer limits of alternatives thus gaining the profits in all the disciplines. In this context the brutal work culture of Jeff Bezos in Amazon can be referred. It is important to discuss that what he as a successful business leader thinks and implement in his organization, may lead to have unethical issues for the employees but this does neither hamper the revenue of Amazon nor affect its popularity.

Cambridge Analytica Ltd was a British political consulting company which was founded by Robert Mercer, Stephen K. Bannon. The function of this company was to combine data mining, data  analysis, and data brokerage with the strategic communication for various types of electoral process. This particular company was started in the year 2013 as a branch of the famous SCL Group (Strategic Communication Laboratories). This company was partially owned by family of Robert Mercer. He was an American hedge-fund manager and supported many politically conservative causes. The another partner was Bannon who supported the firm in ethical way. The company maintained offices in various cities of London, Washington, DC and New York. This case study basically revolves round the ethical data breach by this particular company with Facebook.

Unethical Practices and Responsibilities of Businesses

The Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal includes the assortment of the personally identifiable data of up to 87 million of Facebook users as well as almost surely a much greater amount which this Cambridge Analytica had begun to collect since 2014. Facebook had examined earlier in the year 2011. These data were allegedly utilized to attempt for influencing voter opinions on behalf of the politicians as the clients who hired this company. Following this detection, Facebook made an apology amid the public outcry which ultimately led to fall stock prices. The problem was the way which Cambridge Analytica collected the personally identifiable information was called inappropriate.

In December of 2015, The Guardian reported that Senator Ted Cruz of the United States, was using information from this particular company scandal and such data was utilized for generating more amount of polls, which eventually turned into some of the unethical practices. In the year 2018, The media like  , The New York Times  and Channel 4 News had presented some comprehensive as well as detailed reports which were purely based on the data scandal.  This had included many unknown and new information from some of the former Cambridge Analytica employee. It turned into whistleblower Christopher Wylie, who provided detailed in-depth information about the data  as well as the nature of these personal information which were stolen unethically. It is also observed that the communication among Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, and who hired Cambridge Analytica was all about the use of personal data which greatly influenced the opinion of the voters.

This particular scandal between Facebook and Cambridge Analytica was important for inciting intense public discussion. This is because there are issues constantly emerging in ethical standards for various social media companies, politicians and the political consulting organizations. The impact of this type of actions have many aspects therefore the results were far reaching. The consumer advocates called for a greater consumer protection in both aspects of online media as well as right to privacy who want curb on the misinformation and political propaganda. Despite the fact that Cambridge Analytica released statement denying that the data obtained from Kogan were not used in the presidential campaigns of the USA, the company was ceased in 2018, 1 May. 

This particular case study is associated with the convenience stores namely, 7-Eleven and its entrepreneur Joe C. Thompson. It is one of the largest convenience as well as gas steps and has been name the franchiser of the year in Australia. Although the minimum wage in the employment agreement is legal but those who work for minimum wage may not be able to manage their daily expenses. This leaves them buried in the debt hence bitter toward the employers. This same this happened with 7-Eleven. In 2015, the media revealed that the company owner had decided to help the thousands of international students by employing them in the company’s stores in reduced wages (Ferguson 2018). However, this idea was transformed into labor exploitation then the company started to use this legal practice to reduce their labor costs. The young and foreign labors especially the students were being grossly underpaid sometimes their wages were 50% below the minimum wage. This type of unethical practices was much common for many of the companies operating in Australia. Almost more than 50% of foreign workers were facing these issues. This ethical controversy at this particular company was highly exploited which led to the resignations of the chairman Russ Withers and CEO Warren Wilmot.

Case Study of Facebook-Cambridge Analytica Data Scandal

It had been argued that the wage fraud and labor exploitation aimed to keep the costs down of the stores and increased profits for both the franchisees and of the parent company. Many of the staff who used to work in the company’s stores were international students and their visas only allowed them to work only 20 hours per week. It appeared that most of these students had been effectually blackmailed by the company’s franchisee and threatened if they complained to the employee unions or agencies in Australia regarding the issues of being underpaid, they would be punished by the authorities for breaching their visa regulations therefore would be deported. 7-Eleven Australia however, attempted to detach itself from this problem by suggesting that this issue has been instigated by small numbers of Franchisees and this practice is nothing new in the country. However, the problem is not limited to its small number of Franchisees. This issue also highlights the predicaments of the franchisees, many of whom have employees migrated to Australia. Most surprisingly, the company did not face any punitive measure by the Australian law yet and gained success to earn profit in the country. The franchise business model has proved not to be appropriate which can work in the business structure of Australia. This is because the paying structure of the Franchisees are meant to pay according to Australian Law.


Therefore, it can be concluded that for gaining sustainable growth the companies need to play fair in their fields. The elements of innovation, creativity and other unique features are essential for successful business because the traditional ways do not provide much scope for soaring high. Despite the fact that each and every leader want to reach their desired positions but in doing so they do such thing which are often considered to be unethical. The case studies of both Cambridge Analytica and 7 Eleven, the leaders wanted to have high productivity hence applied legal policies but somehow those became unethical according to the business morality. As the theories of creativity analyses, the business leaders must be unique in their thinking and identify the most exclusive ways to attain the success but can make unethical moves to serve their own interest. The unethical behavior of paying half wages to the international students directly hurt the business ethics of 7 Eleven, but that did not affect their business or revenues, on the contrary, the global company Cambridge Analytica used forced labor through their supply chain and faced failure.


Askew, O.A., Beisler, J.M. and Keel, J., 2015. Current trends of unethical behavior within organizations. International Journal of Management & Information Systems (Online), 19(3), p.107.

Effelsberg, D., Solga, M. and Gurt, J., 2014. Transformational leadership and follower’s unethical behavior for the benefit of the company: A two-study investigation. Journal of Business Ethics, 120(1), pp.81-93.

Ferguson, A. (2018). Revealed: How 7 Eleven is ripping off its workers. [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 May 2018].

Greenbaum, R.L., Hill, A., Mawritz, M.B. and Quade, M.J., 2017. Employee Machiavellianism to unethical behavior: The role of abusive supervision as a trait activator. Journal of Management, 43(2), pp.585-609.

Kets de Vries, M.F., 1985. The dark side of entrepreneurship Harvard Business Review, Nov/Dec 1985, Vol.63(6), p.160

Kilduff, G.J., Galinsky, A.D., Gallo, E. and Reade, J.J., 2016. Whatever it takes to win: Rivalry increases unethical behavior. Academy of Management Journal, 59(5), pp.1508-1534.

Overall, J., 2016. Unethical behavior in organizations: empirical findings that challenge CSR and egoism theory. Business Ethics: A European Review, 25(2), pp.113-127.

Vadastreanu, A.M., Maier, D. and Maier, A., 2015. Is the success possible in compliance with ethics and deontology in business?. Procedia Economics and Finance, 26, pp.1068-1073.