Imagery of Regent people and campus

Dissertation Abstract

Servant Leadership and Public Managers

Sandra Bryant
Regent University

This study examines Patterson's theory of Servant Leadership based on the foundations of transformational leadership theory, buts shifts the focus away from the organization and toward the followers. The primary research question centered on Patterson's definition of servant leadership through constructs or the characteristics of altruism, empowerment, humility, love, service, trust, and vision. We asked whether servant leadership is a viable alternative orientation to local government manages, and will government managers accept or reject these constructs. A review of the literature identified statements which were used to measure and validate each construct. We considered social desirability bias as a possibility. Although, servant leadership is growing in popularity with corporate and public managers, the viability of this leadership approach for local government leaders is mixed. We found local government managers generally accept and believe they practice the characteristics of servant leadership. Local government managers experienced difficulty, in particular, with the constructs of altruism, humility and love. Additional research is needed to determine whether these difficulties were definitional or organizational based.