Saturday, January 15, 2011

January 15

Sorry I've been so late with this month's post. We are finally settled in (more or less), here in Virginia Beach, and I am ramping up to begin class in a few days. I'll be regularly posting some of my dialogues, so please comment (challenge), as appropriate.

A recent review of servant leadership literature revealed ambiguity as to who leaders are and how we measure their success. Much of the literature describes how difficult it is to accurately identify and quantify variables in leadership research, yet typical survey instruments often include items that arguably relate more closely to values rather than behaviors, thereby limiting researcher's abilities to obtain and measure valid results. Moreover, disregarding questions specifically concerning management, one could equally apply to followers many of the items in any of the leader surveys reviewed.

Furthermore, a bias appears to exist throughout the literature that inextricably relates leadership to management or functional position within an organization. Some theorists tout that those who employ the servant leadership model must focus on "employees" rather than the organization. This notion arguably implies that leadership is necessarily a management function that these theorists tie to positional authority in organizations. However, anecdotal evidence and some other researchers (Terry, 1993; Rost, 1995) suggest that one may find leadership, by some definitions, at any level in any organization.


Rost, J. C. (1995). Leadership: A discussion about ethics. Business Ethics Quarterly, 5(1), 14.

Terry, R. W. (1993). Authentic leadership: Courage in action. New York: Jossey-Bass.

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