Historical Derivative of Servant Leadership and the Untold Story of the Influence of Quakerism on Greenleaf's Teachings

Historical Derivative of Servant Leadership and the Untold Story of the Influence of Quakerism on Greenleaf's Teachings

Tiffany L. Beaver (Independent Scholar, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5840-0.ch012


Robert Greenleaf reignited an interest in servant leadership; however, the concept is far from nascent. The multivariate religious influences glistening throughout servant leadership, orchestrate a mosaic imbued with benevolence and service. Although servant leadership transcends religion, the Quaker influence on how Greenleaf approached and taught servant leadership is significant yet gregariously absent in the literature. This chapter navigates the unexplored relationship between servant leadership and Quakerism. The chapter additionally encourages more widespread adoption of Smith's servant leadership paradigm, which goes beyond inverting the leadership paradigm and instead blurs the lines between leading and following, resembling a neurological infrastructure. The kaleidoscopic shift that servant leadership imbues maximizes the powerhouse of knowledge inherent in all organizations.
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Background And New Paradigm Of Servant Leadership

There are over 350 definitions of leadership (Cottrell, 2004; Wright, 2005). Concurring on a definition of servant leadership is equally illusive (Paris & Peachey, 2013); with some claiming that servant leadership is a philosophy and not even a theory (Prosser, 2010). Laub (1999), through empirical testing of servant leadership, initiated the following definition of servant leadership: “Servant leadership is an understanding and practice of leadership that places the good of those led over the self-interest of the leader” (p. 81). Roberts (2013) denoted that “Servant leadership is a value-based approach with a variety of conceptual definitions and frameworks” (p. 54). Sendjaya and Sarros (2002) posited that “Servant as leader is an oxymoron” (p. 57), meaning that servant leadership is difficult to conceptualize, define, and operationalize. Servant leadership has been described as an emerging, holistic approach (Anderson, 2005; Braye, 2000; Horsman, 2001; Laub, 1999; Ledbetter, 2003; Manning, 2004; Spears, 2005), an archetype (Wallace, 2006), a lifestyle, a sub-type of transformational leadership, a leadership style (Nwogu, 2004), a concept or practical philosophy (Ndoria, 2004a), an eclectic approach (Wells, 2004), and a “philosophy of life” (Spears, 2006, p. 48).

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