The servant leadership concept has existed for more than four decades, and evidence of a servant leadership style dates back to antiquity. Although the concept has achieved significant popularity in industry since inception in 1970, it was not originally developed as a leadership theory, but instead was a prescribed way of life for leaders. In fact, the first empirical study of servant leadership theory was not published until 4 years into the present millennium. This course of events has produced a somewhat unique situation, in that the gap in the literature, a lack of robust empirical research of the theory in various contexts, is slowly being filled as the literature attempts to catch up to practice. Additionally, servant leadership theory has experienced a resurgence of interest in recent years due to a general backlash from high level corporate scandals. The research question addressed in the study asks what the relationship is between servant leadership and employee perceptions of leader integrity, employee organizational citizenship behavior, and employee affective commitment to the organization, among intermediate level workers and middle managers in the U.S. finance industry. A quantitative methodology was used, with a non-experimental, correlational, survey design. The target population was intermediate level employees and middle managers, age 18 and over, in the U.S. finance industry. A sample of 100 respondents was accessed through an online survey service provider and third party respondent panel provider. Collected data was analyzed non-parametrically to examine hypothesized correlations, or more correctly, rank order associations. The relation between servant leadership level and perceived leader integrity within the sample was inconclusive, as a non-monotonic relationship of the variable pair precluded calculation of Spearman’s rho. However, moderate positive relationships were found between servant leadership and desirable employee outcomes, specifically organizational citizenship behavior and affective organizational commitment. The conclusion that servant leadership is positively related to desirable employee outcomes in the sample provided support for servant leadership theory in a new context.
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