Servant Leadership and Job Satisfaction: A Qualitative Study in the Chinese Healthcare Context

Servant Leadership and Job Satisfaction: A Qualitative Study in the Chinese Healthcare Context

Xinlin Jing (Royal Darwin Hospital, Australia)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4996-3.ch004
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This chapter seeks to investigate the association between servant leadership and job satisfaction in a healthcare-specific environment. The study uses the method of narrative enquiry within the framework of interpretative phenomenological analysis to capture the lived experience. Interviews were conducted with health professionals in a public hospital in China. The study's findings suggest that servant leadership contributes positively to health professionals' job satisfaction. The study provides insight into practical strategies for healthcare managers to optimize healthcare management. Although there are a few earlier studies that link servant leadership with job satisfaction, there has been an absence of research in the healthcare context.
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Literature Review

Over the past few decades, job satisfaction has become one of the most investigated variables in organizational behavior research (Lu, Barriball, Zhang, & While, 2012). According to Locke (1976), job satisfaction is the “pleasurable emotional state resulting from the subjective appraisal of one’s job,” along with the progress of achievements of job values. Earlier research indicates that job satisfaction is important, as it can have a significant positive influence on both the organization and its employees. At the organizational level, current research demonstrates that an individual’s job satisfaction can have a positive influence on organizational performance (Wood, Veldhoven, Croon, & Menezes, 2012). At the individual level, empirical evidence shows that job satisfaction positively correlates with an employee’s organizational commitment (Fu & Deshpande, 2014), organizational citizenship behavior (Swaminathan & Jawahar, 2013), job performance (Judge, Thoresen, Bono, & Patton, 2001; Luthans, Avolio, Avey, & Norman, 2007) and knowledge sharing (Tong, Tak, & Wong, 2015). It is negatively related to absenteeism (Borgogni, Dello Russo, Miraglia, & Vecchione, 2013) and turnover intention (Bonenberger, Aikins, Akweongo, & Wyss, 2014). In considering the positive benefits of job satisfaction to both the organization and its employees, it is valuable to explore potential approaches to enhancing health professionals’ job satisfaction.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Community Building: A leader’s involvement in encouraging followers to be active in the community, and to accomplish things together.

Phenomenology: The research method to investigate the lived experience, with a purpose to disclose the essential meaning of human endeavors.

Stewardship: The commitment of a leader to serve the needs of subordinates, be of openness, and use persuasion at work rather than control.

Dictatorial Leadership: The leadership style that is characterized by abusively using power, monopolizing decision making, and being dismissive of alternative opinions.

Work Ability: The level of competency to complete designated tasks and resolve difficulties at work.

Job Satisfaction: The pleasure emotional state resulting from the positive, subjective appraisal of one’s job.

Servant Leadership: The leadership style that prioritizes subordinates’ needs, aspirations, and interests.

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