Imagery of Regent people and campus

Dissertation Abstract

Exploring Servant Leadership Theory Within the Congregation of the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament, Corpus Christi, Texas

Rickey E. Richardson
April 2007

This qualitative study focused on the Congregation of the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament of Corpus Christi, Texas. Since its founding in 1871, the congregation has called upon its leaders to incorporate virtues into their leadership which are currently found in servant leadership theory research. A triangular research method was used consisting of (a) in-depth personal interviews, employing the critical incident technique, of the five living Sisters who have served as superior general and five Sisters who have witnessed their leadership, (b) content analysis of historical documents, and (c) historical analysis of the congregation. Phenomenological analysis was employed to understand and describe the lived experiences of the participants. Findings included that (a) the practice of servant leadership is alive and well within the congregation; (b) effective leadership requires leaders to listen to, involve, and empower followers as well as have a vision for the future; and (c) requirements for effective followership include the follower accepting the call to serve, enjoying his or her work, being receptive to change, receiving inspiration from leaders, having a sense of doing God’s work, maintaining a vibrant prayer life, and recognizing his or her own limitations.