Imagery of Regent people and campus

Dissertation Abstract

The Controlled Discipline of Servant Leaders: A Qualitative StudyAsbury to a Mimetic Christological Model

Maurice A. Buford
December 2011

Greenleaf (1991) contended that the primary objective of being a servant leader is to assure that the needs of followers are addressed. Greenleaf suggested that in order to serve, one must be committed to nurturing, defending, empowering, and putting the needs of followers above self and above the organization. This friction point, however, of putting the needs of followers above that of self and the organization, has sparked criticism from scholars. Specifically, arguments within the leadership literature have suggested that the servant leadership construct does not fare well when authority needs to be asserted. To this end, this study builds on the unanswered criticism of various scholars to resolve the question: Do servant leaders exercise controlled discipline with their followers? To address this inquiry, this study provides a concise literature review of Winston's (2008a) notion of controlled discipline. From this deliberation, eight open-ended questions were abstracted from the literature to conduct a phenomenological study upon a targeted sampling of 20 managers. This study used ATLAS.ti 6.2 to codify the data and to understand themes. Inferences were drawn from the data, and an empirical explanation is provided to resolve the research question of this study.