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Dissertation Abstract

Exploring the Values and Attributes of Servant Leaders

Robert Foster Russell
Regent University

This dissertation empirically explores the values and attributes of servant leaders. It builds a foundation for categorizing and appraising certain attributes of servant leadership by reviewing the existing academic, popular, and biblical literature that relates to the concept. The literature review identifies five functional attributes of servant leadership, which are vision, modeling, pioneering, appreciation of others, and empowerment. The analytical research focuses on these five functional attributes.

The existing literature asserts that the values of servant leaders differ from those of non-servant leaders. It also asserts that because servant leaders' values are distinctive their attributes are also atypical. This dissertation analyzes this premise by incorporating the Hall-Tonna Inventory of Values (HTIV) and the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) as primary research instruments. The HTIV professes to measure servant leadership. Therefore, it serves as a mechanism for examining the values of leaders and for classifying them in servant and non-servant categories. The LPI measures the five functional attributes of vision, modeling, pioneering, appreciation of others, and empowerment.

The study's primary goal was to determine if any statistically significant differences exist between the attributes of servant leaders and those of non-servant leaders. The research also served as a validation study of the HTIV's assertion that it measures servant leadership. The dissertation examined 15 hypotheses associated with the contention that servant leaders differ from non-servant leaders on the variables of vision, modeling, pioneering, appreciation of others, and empowerment. The statistical analyses refuted six of the 10 hypotheses related to the servant leaders and only one of the hypotheses associated with the non-servant leaders.

The statistical results provided strong evidence that vision and pioneering are functional attributes of servant leadership. The research also provided evidence that modeling and appreciation of others are important elements in servant leadership. However, the research was inconclusive regarding the variable of empowerment. Overall, the results established empirical support for some of the attributes that many writers have theorized are part of the servant leadership model. In addition, the study validated the HTIV's claim that it differentiates between leadership types and specifically measures attributes of servant leadership. The study also establishes the need to further examine the link between values and the functional attributes of servant leadership.