Generational perceptions of servant leadership: A mixed methods study

by Zimmerer, Tatiana Ekaterina, D.B.A., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2013, 197 pages; 3554993


This non-experimental explanatory sequential mixed methods study investigated the relationship between levels of servant leadership as defined by van Dierendonck (2011) experienced by members from three generational cohorts namely Baby Boomers, GenX, and GenY and levels of job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and turnover intent. In addition, potential preferences of certain attributes of servant leadership of the three main cohorts working in corporate America were explored. The differences between generations regarding values, attitudes, work ethic, and leadership styles are beginning to be acknowledged and documented. The servant leadership approach is focused on the fulfillment of the individual follower needs which is hypothesized to lead to potentially improved leader-follower interaction resulting in increased job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and reduced turnover intent for members from different generations. The quantitative phase results indicated that there are no significant differences between generations for job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and turnover intent. Correlation analysis showed that across all three generations servant leadership had a strong relationship to job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Looking at the attributes of servant leadership, empowerment strongly correlated with job satisfaction and organizational commitment across all three generations while courage had the weakest relationships. The analysis of the qualitative phase mirrored the findings from the quantitative phase. Followers from all three generations had servant leaders and they portrayed their leaders very similarly as people who respected, trusted, encouraged, and cared for their followers. The interview participants described how having a servant leader inspires them to work harder, have more pride in their work, be highly loyal, and how it creates an overall feeling of personal well-being that carries over into the non-work life. The study results with respect to the relationship between servant leadership and organizational outcomes mirrors those found by van Dierendonck and Nuijten (2011) whose servant leadership conceptual framework and survey was the foundation of this study

AdviserJohn Latham
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Organization theory; Organizational behavior
Publication Number3554993

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