Imagery of Regent people and campus

Dissertation Abstract

An Empirical Test of the Servant Leadership Theory in a Bulgarian Context

Marina Dimitrova
February 2008

This dissertation examined Patterson’s (2003) theory of servant leadership in Bulgarian contexts. Patterson’s theoretical work identifies seven constructs of servant leadership: agapao love, humility, altruism, vision, trust, empowerment, and service. The study investigated the causal relationships between the seven constructs in Patterson’s servant leadership model. University students’ perceptions of characteristics of servant leaders were assessed using the servant leadership instrument developed by Dennis and Bocarnea (2005) in a cross-sectional survey research design with 319 students enrolled in the School of History and Education and Management of Education (SHEME) of Sofia University in Bulgaria. Using simple and multiple regression analyses, support was found for the causal relationships among the servant leadership constructs with one exception, the relationship between altruism and vision. Furthermore, t-tests were performed to answer the research question addressing the influence of leader-follower gender similarity to the servant leadership constructs. None of the results of these tests yielded significant differences. The implications of the results for leadership theory and practice are discussed. The study pioneers servant leadership research in Bulgaria, a country experiencing an uneasy transition to democracy and market economy after the collapse of communism.