The effect of servant leadership tenets and perceived impact in a community development context
Keywords:Community Development, Holistic Approach to Work, Project Impact, Sense of Community, Servant Leadership, Service to Others, Servant Leadership Tenets, Uprightness
The study responded to calls to extend the current understanding of servant leadership into new contexts. The selected context for investigation was the nonprofit sector in Kenya. Three objectives guided the study that sought to establish the servant leadership dimensions adopted, the impact achieved in the target communities and the effect of the dimensions on the level of impact achieved. 365 senior managers were sampled from 73 nonprofit organizations and data was collected on both dimensions of servant leadership and perceived impact in the communities served by the organizations. The study reports that ten attributes of servant leadership are relevant to the sector and are practiced to a moderate extent and this extent of adoption has accomplished a moderate level of impact in the communities served. Four tenets of servant leadership, holistic approach to work, service to others, sense of community and uprightness have a significant effect on the level of impact achieved in the communities. While a holistic approach and service to others have a negative effect, a sense of community and uprightness have a positive effect. The findings raise implications for the servant leadership theory and point to the need to complement its dimensions with the postulates of the situational leadership theory for a more appropriate application in work situations. The findings contribute toward addressing conceptual, theoretical, and empirical gaps found in the extant literature on servant leadership.
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