- Get Free Essays and Term Papers

Transformational, Servant and Authentic Leadership Sou

Autor:   •  November 23, 2017  •  4,464 Words (18 Pages)  •  735 Views

Page 1 of 18


Strengths and Criticisms

The transformational leadership theory has several strengths in its framework. This theory is easy to understand and therefore can be applied to all levels of the organization. Transformational leadership is also widely accepted. There are over 1000 studies relating to this theory. Like many theories, transformational leadership has its drawbacks. One of the biggest critiques of transformational leadership is that is qualitative based. The theory requires that the leader be charismatic which is more related to individual characteristics than it is scientific in nature. Because this leadership theory is widely accepted, individuals have been known to abuse it. Those that abuse this theory understand how to get followers to support a vision that may not be for the greater good. (Northouse, 2013)

An Interesting Perspective

A study by Karl Huhnert and Philip Lewis presents an interesting perspective on transformational leadership studies. Huhnert and Lewis (1987) pointed out that Burns (1978) and Bass (1985) both fail to provide a framework for understanding the motivational states or personality difference that give rise to transactional leadership. (Huhnert & Lewis, 1987) In considering all of the research that I have reviewed, there is not furthers studies past their study that considers the emotional state of the follower. Though their work does not provide empirical support, they introduce the idea that constructive development plays a role in how influential a leader can appear to the follower. Huhnert & Lewis (1987) suggest that the follower’s ability to be influenced by transformational leadership or transactional leadership is determined before the leader comes into the picture. They suggest that personal experiences and shape how individuals define the world around them and that plays a role in how the followers themselves are influenced. Kegan (1982) insists that these experiences regulate the deep structure of a person’s personality, thoughts feelings and actions. He suggests that as a result of their environment, some adults may not possess the ability to expand upon their reflections of the outside world. In other words, Huhnert & Lewis (1987) and Kegan (1982) introduce the implication that people view the world in through different lenses; therefore, a leader’s transformational approach may not necessarily be identifiable to individuals from different backgrounds.

Servant Leadership

Servant Leadership Defined

Servant leadership is quite different from previously studied leadership theories. Early theories of leadership suggest that in order for leadership to occur, there has to be influence from the leader and followers must respond positively to that influence. (Vroom & Jago, 2007). Though servant leadership is growing increasingly more popular, many researchers argue that servant leadership lacks empirical support. Servant leadership has only recently gained enough momentum to develop enough empirical support to be name a leadership theory though some still disagree. Despite little empirical research to support, the concept of servant leadership opens up useful dialogue in the study of leadership. The concept of servant leadership shifts the paradigm from the view. Servant leadership suggests that the servant leader is considered effective based on how well he serves his followers.

Robert Greenleaf introduced the Servant leadership style in 1977 in his book Servant Leadership. Greenleaf introduces a quite lengthy definition of the servant leader:

The servant-leader is servant first….It begins with the natural feeling that

one wants 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 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 shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature….The difference manifests itself in the

care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest

priority needs are being served. (Greenleaf, 1977, p.13)

Green first states that the servant leader serves others. This simply means that rather than others helping serving the leaders, the leader helps others achieve their goals. This is the basic idea supporting servant leadership. Recent studies have attempted to effectively model servant leadership. Russell and Stone (2002) and Ehrhart (2004) have made attempts to cohesively develop a theory for servant leadership. Russell and Stone established a practical model. In doing so, they identified accompanying attributes. The attributes included: vision, trust, respect, risk-sharing, integrity, modeling, commitment to goals, communication, enthusiasm, rationality, problem solving, personal attention, mentoring, listening, and empowerment along with serval others. The attributes identified in Russell & Stone’s (2002) model raised the question of whether or not there was a real difference between servant leadership and the aforementioned transformational leadership. Stone and Russell (2003) conclude that while transformational leadership and servant leadership are quite similar or contain some of the same attributes such as mentoring, valuing people, and listening, there are points of variation. Russell and Stone (2002) suggest that servant leadership is influential because it nontraditionally focuses on service to the follower. There is no particular affinity for the organization (Stone & Russell, 2013)

Research on Servant Leadership

The amount of research on servant leadership is significantly lacking when compared to other leadership theories. When research is presented on the topic, it is usually in comparison to some other theory or identifying characteristics. Farling et. al. (1999) studied servant leadership based on the most popularly noted characteristics of the leadership style; vision, influence, trust and service. (Stone & Russell, 2013) Their study concluded that servant leaders find their values in a spiritual base. James Laub (1999) also studies the specific characteristic of servant leadership.


Download:   txt (30.1 Kb)   pdf (159.1 Kb)   docx (23 Kb)  
Continue for 17 more pages »
Only available on