A Cross-Cultural Measure of Servant Leadership Behaviors

A Cross-Cultural Measure of Servant Leadership Behaviors

Jeff R. Hale (WellSpirit Consulting Group, Inc., USA) and Dail Fields (Regent University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2172-5.ch009
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This chapter presents items comprising three scales that measure servant leadership using three key dimensions: service, humility, and vision. The instrument was used to measure servant leadership behaviors experienced by followers in the United States and Ghana. Reliability and validity evidence is included from two research studies. A discussion of the relationship of servant leadership behaviors with employee outcomes assessed in these studies concludes the chapter.
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Background: The Nature Of Servant Leadership

An examination of the variety of concepts used to describe servant leadership could suggest that what appears to be a relatively straight-forward concept is either quite complicated or lends itself to elaboration with a wide variety of terms. For example, scholars (Barbuto & Wheeler, 2006; Dennis & Bocarnea, 2005; Farling, Stone, & Winston, 1999; Hale & Fields, 2007; Liden, Wayne, Zhao & Henderson, 2005; Page & Wong, 2000; Patterson, 2003; Sendjaya, 2003) describe servant leadership with behaviors or leader characteristics including:

  • Humility

  • Relational power

  • Service orientation

  • Follower development

  • Encouragement of follower autonomy

  • Altruistic calling

  • Emotional healing

  • Persuasive mapping

  • Wisdom

  • Organizational stewardship

  • Moral love (also termed agape love)

  • Altruism

  • Vision

  • Trust

  • Service (behavior)

  • Follower empowerment

  • Influence

  • Credibility

  • Voluntary subordination

  • Authentic self

  • Covenantal relationship with followers

  • Responsible morality

  • Transcendental spirituality

  • Transforming influence

  • Creating value for the community

  • Conceptual skills,

  • Helping subordinates grow and succeed

  • Putting subordinates first

  • Behaving ethically

Despite the vast array of terms various formulations of servant leadership have employed, three major descriptors originally employed by Greenleaf (1977) consistently are cornerstones of servant leadership. These are:

  • Service: To followers, an organization, and society. Based on the alternative descriptions of servant leadership noted above, this dimension may include service orientation, follower development, organizational stewardship, follower empowerment, covenantal relationship, responsible morality, helping followers grow, and putting followers first.

  • Humility: Putting the success of followers ahead of the leader’s personal gain. This dimension may include relational power, altruistic calling, emotional healing, moral love, altruism, credibility, voluntary subordination, authentic self, transcendental spirituality, emotional healing, and behaving ethically from the various alternative servant leadership formulations above.

  • Vision: Having foresight combined with the ability to communicate vision to and influence followers in developing a shared vision for an organization. This dimension includes wisdom, persuasive mapping, influence, transforming influence, credibility, creating value for the community, and conceptual skills from the various alternative servant leadership formulations above.

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