This study used both Greenleaf's (1977) theory of servant leadership and Spears’s (1995) ten characteristics of servant leadership to explore the concept in a top-down environment. The study proposed to answer the research question: To what extent, if any, is a mayor of a metropolitan area in the Northeast region of the USA displaying at work the ten characteristics of servant leadership as defined by Spears? This study used an exploratory single-case study design and purposeful sampling techniques. The methodology consisted of in-depth, semistructured, open-ended interview with leaders from the community and employees from each of the various departments throughout City Hall. Thirteen participants who represented a diverse selection of community leaders and employees were interviewed because saturation occurred quicker than expected. Interviews, observation, and archival data were the primary sources of data collection. The key finding of this study revealed that four of the ten servant leadership characteristics as defined by Spears were dominant characteristics with regard to the mayor’s leadership style: building community, commitment to the growth of people, empathy, and stewardship. The scope of this research was limited to the mayor of a metropolitan area in the Northeast region of the USA. Future research should examine other mayors and governors in other regions of the USA using the framework of Greenleaf's (1977) theory of servant leadership and as defined by Spears to explore if the themes found in this case study are found in other case situations.
Mareus, Roosevelt; Patterson, Kathleen; Firestone, Steve; and Winston, Bruce E.
"Exploring Servant Leadership in A Top-Down Environment,"
Servant Leadership: Theory & Practice: Vol. 6
, Article 4.
Available at: https://csuepress.columbusstate.edu/sltp/vol6/iss1/4
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