The relationship between servant leadership, emotional intelligence, trust in the immediate supervisor and meaning in life : an exploratory study

Van Staden, Marieta (2007-12)

Thesis (MA (Industrial Psychology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.


Constructs in this study are explored from a positive organisational scholarship paradigm, which is largely concerned with the investigation of positive outcomes, processes and attributes of organisations and their employees. The aim of the study is to investigate the respective relationships that exist between the positive organisational psychological constructs, namely servant leadership, emotional intelligence and trust in the immediate supervisor, and the influence of these variables on the meaning in life experienced by individuals. Based on literature, a model depicting a sequential process of interrelationships amongst the constructs is proposed in the study. Both survey and statistical modelling methodologies were employed to guide the investigation. Standardised questionnaires were used for the four different constructs, using the responses of 154 employees on a composite questionnaire. To determine the applicability of the factor structures of these instruments on the current sample, exploratory factor analysis was conducted. The suggested factor structures were confirmed through confirmatory factor analysis with acceptable levels of fit. The revalidated instruments provided better levels of fit than the original instruments. The configurations of the measurement instruments were found to be different in a South African cultural organisational setting for the Servant Leadership Questionnaire, the Emotional Intelligence Index and the Life Regard Index. However, the configuration of measurement on trust in the immediate supervisor, when applied to the respondents in this study, appeared to be similar to those found in different cultural settings. The results of a Pearson correlation analysis, stepwise multiple regression and structural equation modelling (SEM) analysis indicated significant relationships between servant leadership, emotional intelligence and trust. The relationship of these constructs with meaning did not show significant relationships. The contribution of this study to the existing theory and literature is the exploration of the portability of the measurement instruments to a South African context. A further contribution is the findings with regard to the interrelationships between servant leadership, emotional intelligence and trust in the immediate supervisor. Some recommendations for further research and some suggestions regarding servant leadership development interventions are also made.

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