Servant Leadership as a Conduit Towards Mission-Centric Sustainability in Emerging Market Social Enterprises: The Case of South Africa

Servant Leadership as a Conduit Towards Mission-Centric Sustainability in Emerging Market Social Enterprises: The Case of South Africa

Vasilios Stouraitis, Daniella Teles Amaral, Konstantinos Tsanis, Markos Kyritsis
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8820-8.ch010
(Individual Chapters)
No Current Special Offers


With a focus on South Africa, the chapter presents an examination of servant leadership as a trigger for mission-centric social entrepreneurship in emerging markets. The chapter provides a behavioural tool and handbook towards focusing on mission-centric social entrepreneurship avoiding socially and long-term unsustainable excessive commercialization. Several recurring variables and associations from the literature on servant leadership are explored and discussed in relation to South African social enterprises to validate the argument presented. Using a random sample of 348 local social enterprises, it is seen that gender, “title,” and “options” present an association with servant leadership traits. In addition, it is shown that servant leadership traits presented are associated to the choice of type of social enterprise strategy. The chapter finally presents recommendations for managers and potential social entrepreneurs in emerging markets to achieve sustainability and avoid a mission drift. In addition, further academic research avenues are presented.
Chapter Preview

Problem Statement

As will be examined below, the main concern that governance in the area of social entrepreneurship or third sector is intended to alleviate is the incidence of “mission drift”, or a drop in corporate performance and social value while increasing the risk. This can be defined as when the social enterprise loses its vision of satisfying both ends and is eventually too commercialised, or vice versa (Fowler, 2000; Weisbrod, 2004). This is the case when the enterprise drifts away from satisfying both targets and results in it becoming too commercialised, or vice-versa (Fowler, 2000; Ramus & Vaccaro, 2017; Weisbrod, 2004). Based on the suggested associations affecting and within servant leadership presented in the literature (see also Eva et al., 2019; Sendjaya, 2002; Sendjaya et al., 2019), the chapter conducts an exploratory study on a sample of South African social enterprises. The aim is to examine the triggers of the concept of “mission-drift” in social enterprises and explore whether servant leadership can become a solution or conduit for more mission-centric strategies. As mentioned above, stemming from the principal literature on servant leadership (see also Dennis & Bocarnea, 2005; Weisbrod, 2004), four associations are examined through statistical analysis and a review of the literature that backs up these associations. In essence, the aim of the chapter is to present a solution to the common “mission-drift” scenario that can stem from the manager internally rather than externally necessarily (i.e. through funding or grants). This solution can be also found within the enterprise and may also not be as costly as one imagines which would benefit emerging market social enterprises and of course, new market entrants. Understanding the characteristics that lead to a stronger vested interest in mission-centric entrepreneurship is vital in environments where this type of entrepreneurship is the most viable option, or a growing space in the market. To explore this, education, “options”, gender and “title” are examined (Dennis & Bocarnea, 2005). The main associations are explained below.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: