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How might you compare servant leadership to other scholarly leadership theories and models of leadership?

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Leadership Styles and Development



Module 5 DQ 2

1, How might you compare servant leadership to other scholarly leadership theories and models of leadership?

2, Based on the week 5 lecture, what did you learn about ethical and authentic leadership?


Emerging Leadership Theories


This module presents a discussion of some of the newer approaches and theories in leadership including servant leadership, authentic leadership, and the full range leadership theory (FRLT). FRLT combines the dimensions of transformational leadership (4I`s) and the dimensions of transactional leadership. Until now, most of the leadership theories we have studied all fall under the transactional leadership theory.

Based on work by Bernard Boss (cited in Schermerhorn, 2010), leadership can be viewed as either transactional or transformational. Transactional leadership involves the leader-follower exchanges necessary for achieving routine performance as agreed upon by the leaders and follower. This is something of a quid pro quo relationship whereby both the leader and follower offer inducements or something of value to each other. There are four dimensions of transactional leadership outlined in Table 1 below:

Transformational leadership occurs when leaders broaden and elevate their followers` interests, generate awareness about the organization`s purpose and mission, and cause their followers to look beyond their own self interest to the good of others (Yukl, 1999). Transformational leadership encompasses a way of thinking that emphasizes ideals, inspiration, innovation, and individual concerns. It requires leaders to recognize the dynamic nature of their environments and how their own behavior relates to the needs of their subordinates. In essence, this type of leadership helps leaders transform followers by dealing with individual emotions, values, ethics, standards, and long-term goals. Transformational leadership is one of the current approaches often referred to by leaders, organizations, institutes, and academic institutions that have leadership programs. It is a very popular style that may be called the new leadership paradigm. This style focuses on charismatic and affective perspectives of the leadership process (Bryman, 1992).

Transformational leadership presupposes that the individual is transformed in the areas of emotions, values, ethics, standards, and long-term goals. Paramount also is the assessment of the motives of the followers and meeting their needs, including how they are treated as humans.

Historical Origins

In the late 1970s, the issue of morality gained popularity with regard to leaders; hence, the idea of transformational leadership was born. It appears that the origins revolve around historical events of the time and how views about leadership were influenced by those events.

While Downton (1973) was credited with conceiving the term transformational leadership, it became prominent through the work of Burns (1978), who created a connection between the roles of leaders and followers. Burns implied that the leader utilizes the strengths and human assets of the followers to get tasks completed. He also distinguished between transformational and transactional leadership. While transactional leadership involves an exchange between the leader and the follower, transformational leadership raises the level of motivation and morality in both the leader and the follower.

An example of transactional leadership is a politician who wins votes by promising no new taxes. Because an exchange of services is involved, transactional leadership is synonymous with the bartering process. However, it works only when both the leaders and followers understand what is important to be accomplished and are in agreement about it.

An example of transformational leadership is a leader who attempts to change the company`s corporate values to reflect a more human standard of fairness and justice. The transformational leader leads by helping followers reach their full potential.

Goals of Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership involves a process of transforming individuals. It aims at inspiring individuals to become their best selves–in addition to contributing more to the organization. The essence of transformational leadership lies mainly on charisma, influence, high levels of consideration and caring for the individual, and intellectual stimulation.

In an example using a school setting, Leithwood (1992) identifies three main goals of transformational leadership:

1. Helping staff develop and maintain a collaborative, professional school culture. The staff discusses, observes, critiques, and plans what needs to be accomplished and how to proceed. The school`s collective norms and responsibilities are shared and include high involvement of each staff member.

2. Fostering teacher development. Involves internalized goals for professional development that help to increase motivation and instill a high commitment to the organization`s mission. There is a high level of involvement and clear roles for staff.

3. Helping teachers solve problems more effectively. Leithwood posits that transformational leadership stimulates teachers to engage in new activities and be willing to put out extra effort to accomplish the task. Leaders use practices to help the staff work smarter instead of harder. It is indicated that the group as a unit can achieve higher levels of productivity than one individual (i.e., the leader).

Bass (1985) suggests that transformational leaders motivate followers in order to achieve higher levels of work performance. He added that the leaders engage the following three techniques to do so:

1. Raise the followers` levels of consciousness about the importance and value of specified and idealized goals

2. Get followers to transcend their own self-interest for the sake of the team or organization

3. Motivate followers to address higher-level needs

Four Main Factors of Transformational Leadership

Bass (1985) proposes four main transformational leadership factors:

1. Charisma or idealized influence: Leaders act as role models in order to influence the followers` actions and behaviors. Leaders typically have high moral and ethical standards and are reliable. Followers want to follow the vision of the leader because of the leader`s charisma.

2. Inspirational motivation: Leaders communicate high expectations and inspire followers through motivating them to increase their commitment to the shared vision of the organization. Leaders use symbols and emotional appeals to focus followers on the pursuit of higher achievement.

3. Intellectual stimulation: Followers are stimulated to be creative and innovative through having their beliefs and values challenged. Leaders support the creative efforts of the followers in resolving problems and interventions.

4. Individualized consideration: Leaders act as coaches and advisers and create a supportive climate for the followers. They listen to the needs of the followers and help meet their needs.

Emerging Leadership Theories

Emerging leadership theories include moral leadership ("always good and right by ethical standards," Schermerhorn, 2010); shared leadership (where people share the responsibility for leading), ethical leadership, Level 5 leadership (which integrates components of trait and full range leadership theory) authentic leadership, servant leadership, and the full range leadership theory (a combination of the transactional and transformational approaches).

Authentic Leadership

Authentic leadership can be defined as a consistent pattern that promotes both positive psychological capacities while simultaneously developing a positive ethical climate, that fosters greater self-awareness, an internalized moral perspective, balanced processing of information, and relational transparency on the part of leaders working with followers, fostering positive self-development (Northouse, 2010)

Another more concise definition of authentic leadership is: Leading in such a manner that demonstrates a high level of emotional intelligence, honesty, sincerity, transparency, trust, and ethics (Smith, 2011). While Northouse (2010) contends that there is no single accepted definition of authentic leadership, Schermerhorn (as cited in Luthans & Avolio, 2010) defines an authentic leader who has "a high level of self awareness...clearly understand his or her personal values...acts consistent with those values...and avoids self- deception" (p. 450). He reports that Bruce and Avolio argue that this leads to positive self-regulation and acts as a compass that guides the leader when faced with moral dilemmas. Northouse, in examining extant literature, states that authentic leadership has been studied from three main viewpoints, the intrapersonal perspective, the developmental perspective and the interpersonal perspective. Authentic leadership, as a school has been studied mainly through life studies (the practical approach), and through the theoretical approach. According to Northouse, the theoretical perspective, at this time, mainly revolves around the work of Luthans and Avolio (2003). In summary, this is an approach that is still in its infancy, and is a philosophy that is aligned with ethical and servant leadership.

The Full Range Leadership Theory (FRLT)

Bass and Avolio`s model of the FRLT (as cited in Northouse, 2010) shows that the FLRT involves a combination of the elements of transactional and transformational leadership and emphasizes contextual variables. The transformational leadership elements are idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration. The transactional elements are management by exception (active), management by exception (passive) and contingent reward. Laissez faire leadership is classified as a non-leadership element. While still in its infancy, it offers much promise in highlighting the significance of contextual factors (e.g., work functions, demographic factors) and how these relate to leadership style.

Source: Northouse. P. G. (2010). Leadership theory and practice (5th ed. p. 178). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Servant Leadership

One of the most significant emerging approaches receiving much attention is servant leadership. Servant leadership is a philosophy of leadership that is gaining support as a style as well. The foundation for servant leadership has developed based on a worldview including religion, philosophy, and research. As a model, the focus is on leaders, their followers, and their stakeholders. This model is based on valuing all stakeholders, while acknowledging the characteristics of an effective servant leader. Philosophically, servant leadership has a strong foundation based on the concept of virtue. The characteristics of servant leaders include listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, commitment to the growth of people, and building community (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2008). According to Patterson (2003), there has been a resurgence of the study of virtue and leadership with a focus on the rights of other people, or stakeholders, and the common good rather than just financial profits. Servant leadership includes seven dimensions related to virtue. "These are (a) agapao love, (b) humility, (c) altruism, (d) vision, (e) trust, (f) empowerment, and (g) service. These constructs are virtues and become illuminated within a servant leadership context" (p. 2). 

From a religious perspective, servant leadership is associated with Christian teachings. Robert Greenleaf, while working as an executive at AT&T, created the concept of servant leadership as a leadership model and introduced it as a practice in organizations in 1977. Although he applied the principle of servant leadership to organizations, he created this theoretical model after reading a story by Herman Hesse about a spiritual pilgrimage (Sendjaya & Sarros, 2002). From a research perspective, although the theory has been known since 1977, it has gained momentum recently. This new momentum can be attributable in part to the challenges facing corporate leadership today and to the fact that this model has survived the test of time.

Over time, various definitions of servant leadership have been created. A current definition proposed by the creator of this theory of leadership is:

The servant leader is servant first.... Becoming a servant leader begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions. For such people, it will be a later choice to serve–after leadership is established. The leader first and the servant first are two extreme types. Between them are the shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature (Greenleaf, 2002, pp. 24-25)

Ethical Leadership Theory

Many corporate scandals–from Enron to Martha Stewart–have led to considerable interest in exploring the nature of ethics and ethical leaders. Ethics can be defined on an individual level as the principles, rules, norms, and standards that one uses to guide and formulate ethical decision making in any given situation (Weiss, 2003). As corporate scandals have increased with a variety of ethical violations, stronger scrutiny of the ethical standards of leaders has occurred. The public`s concern about ethical matters and corporate social responsibility has placed leaders under ethical watch. For an individual, the ethical decision-making process can involve moral awareness, moral judgment, and ethical behavior. It makes sense for leaders to make ethical decisions based on who they are as individuals and how they respond in any given situation as guided by their ethics (Northouse, 2004). Ethical theories consist of formulated thoughts about the conduct of leaders and ideas about their character, their actions, and who they are as individuals. The theories stress the consequences of their actions based on their duties and how they follow the rules that govern their authority.

There are three different approaches to making ethical decisions with regard to moral conduct.

• Ethical egoism − acting to create the greatest good or outcome for oneself. An example of this may be decisions that are made for self interest, to benefit or promote oneself, and the pursuit of outcomes based on self-interest (Avolio & Locke, 2002).

• Utilitarianism − the opposite of ethical egoism, it concerns the individual leader that creates the greatest good for all involved. The leader focuses on maximizing social benefits and minimizing the potential cost to society. Focus is not on self, but on others.

• Altruism − concerned mainly with the best interests of others. Collins (2001) states:

At a deeper level, we found that for leaders to make something great, their ambition has to be for the greatness of the work and the company, rather than for themselves. That doesn`t mean that they don`t have an ego. It means that at each decision point − at each of the critical junctures when Choice A would favor their ego and Choice B would favor the company and the work − time and again the good-to-great leaders pick Choice B. Celebrity CEOs, at those same decision points, are more likely to favor self and ego over company and work (p. 9).

Altruism professes that the leader does good to benefit others even if it has little or no benefit for the leader; the interest of others is supreme.

Virtue-based theories focus on who the leader is as a person. These virtues or values can be learned and acquired through practice (Pojman, 1995). The emphasis here is on helping people or leaders to be virtuous instead of telling them what to do, with the stress being on how to tell people what to be and helping them achieve a higher level of virtue. While virtues can be habitual and/or innate, they can be learned. Because leaders play a powerful role in changing and establishing the ethical culture of their organizations, it is valuable for them to learn the virtues of perseverance, public spirit, integrity, truthfulness, fidelity, benevolence, and humility (Velasquez, 1992).

Perspectives on Ethical Leadership

Heifetz, Burns, and Greenleaf all give perspectives on ethical leadership.

Heifetz`s Perspective

Heifetz (1994), a psychiatrist, proposes an ethical perspective of leadership involving the values of workers. The leader uses authority to provide a safe, nurturing, and empathetic environment to help his/her followers feel safe, thereby enabling them to deal with tough issues in the workplace. Feeling safe facilitates the decision-making process, helps followers to deal effectively with change, and allows them to focus on problem-solving tough issues.

Burns` Perspective

Burns` (1978) perspective places emphasis on followers` needs, values, and morals. When followers are helped to move beyond their personal struggles, the process raises the bar with regard to the levels of morality of both leader and follower. The responsibility rests on the leader to raise the bar of the follower`s functioning to the level that will embrace values such as liberty, justice, and equality (Ciulla, 1998). Burns` theory is not without its critics who argue that if a leader does not raise the bar or level of functioning of its followers, does this suggest that the leadership of someone like Adolf Hitler is not actually leadership?

Greenleaf`s Perspective

Greenleaf (1970, 1977) posits that leadership involves a process of bestowing authority on an individual, who is then perceived as a servant. This type of leadership focuses on the needs of the people or followers and helps them become more like servants as well. The leader provides a positive influence to enrich the lives of others. The emphasis in this perspective is on the significance of listening, empathy, and unconditional acceptance of others. A servant leader pays attention to the unique needs of the followers, builds strong relationships, cares for the followers, and helps to build trust and cooperation among the followers.

Principles of Ethical Leadership

There are a set of principles of ethical leadership that provide a barometer for the behavior of leaders. Ethical leaders must respect others, serve others, be just, be honest, and build community. These principles help reassure the people that their leadership process works and that their leaders can be trusted to meet their needs (Northouse, 2004).

Source: Northouse. P. G. (2010). Leadership theory and practice (5th ed. p. 387). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


Since leadership is a process by which others are influenced, it makes sense for leaders to use values, standards, and norms to guide their behaviors, actions, and decision making. The decision-making process should be based on good morals, and attention should be paid to how the process of leadership affects others, including stakeholders.

Transformational leadership provides a way of thinking about leadership that emphasizes ideals, inspiration, innovation, and individual concerns. It requires leaders to recognize the dynamics of their environments and how their own behavior relates to the needs of their subordinates. Transformational leadership emphasizes the leader`s ability to motivate followers to achieve exceptional accomplishments, in essence, to get them transformed (Yukl, 1999).

While transformational leadership may have benefits, other types of leadership styles are emerging and gaining much prominence amongst theorists and practitioners. These include the FRLT, ethical leadership, authentic leadership, and servant leadership. At its core, ethical leadership involves sound values with ethical leaders who possess self-awareness, and who fully comprehend the values and morals that drive decision-making processes. Much work needs to be done to progress the theoretical and practical knowledge and application in these emerging areas.


Avolio, B. J., & Locke, E. E. (2002). Contrasting different philosophies of leader motivation: Altruism versus egoism. Leadership Quarterly, 13, 169-191.

Bass, B. M. (1985). Leadership and performance beyond expectations. New York: Free Press.

Bryman, A. (1992). Charisma and leadership in organizations. London: Sage.

Burns, J. M. (1978). Leadership. New York: Harper and Row.

Ciulla, J. B. (1998). Ethics: The heart of leadership. Westport, CT: Greenwood.

Collins, J. (2001). Good to great. Fast Company. Retrieved from http://www.fastcompany.com/online/51/goodtogreat.html

Downton, J. V. (1973). Rebel leadership: Commitment and charisma in a revolutionary process. New York: Free Press.

Greenleaf, R. K. (1970). The servant as leader. Newton Centre, MA: Robert K. Greenleaf Center.

Greenleaf, R. K. (1977). Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. New York: Paulist Press.

Greenleaf, R. K. (2002). Essentials of servant leadership. In L. C. Spears, M. Lawrence, and K. Blanchard (Eds.), Focus on leadership: Servant-leadership for the 21st century (pp. 19-26). New York: Wiley and Sons.

Heifetz, R. A. (1994). Leadership without easy answers. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Kreitner, R., & Kinicki, A. (2010). Organizational behavior (9th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Leithwood, K. A. (1992, February). The move toward transformational leadership. Educational Leadership, 49(5), 8-12. Retrieved from http://www.vtaide.com/png/ERIC/Transformational-Leadership.htm

Northouse. P. G. (2004). Leadership theory and practice (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Northouse. P. G. (2010). Leadership theory and practice (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Patterson, K. (2003, August). Servant leadership: A theoretical model. Paper presented at the Servant Leadership Research Roundtable, Regent University, School of Leadership. Retrieved from http://www.regent.edu/acad/global/publications/sl_proceedings/home.shtml

Pojman, L. P. (1995). Ethical theory: Classical and contemporary readings (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Schermerhorn, J. R. (2010). Management. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Sendjaya, S., & Sarros, J. C. (2002). Servant leadership: Its origin, development, and application in organizations. Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, 9(2), 57-64.

Velasquez, M. G. (1992). Business ethics: Concepts and cases (3rd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Weiss, J. W. (2003). Business ethics: A stakeholder and issues management approach (3rd ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western.

Yukl, G. A. (1999). An evaluation of conceptual weaknesses in transformational and charismatic leadership theories. Leadership Quarterly, 10(2), 285-305.


Module 5 dq2 Insert Name: Institutional Affiliation: Due Date: Part one In this section, I compare servant leadership with other leadership models. There are various theories that explain the practice and concepts of leadership theories including full-range leadership theory, authentic leadership theory, servant leadership theory, transactional leadership theory, transformational leadership theory, ethical leadership theory and others (Northouse, 2010). Transformational theory considers leadership as a process that a leader engages with others and is capable of developing a connection which leads to an increased morality and motivation in followers. Northouse (2010) identifies that transformational leadership theory mainly considers that the leader should be attentive to the followers’ motives and needs to assist them achieve their maximum potential. Transformational leadership is quite different from transactional leadership. In transactional


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