A theoretical construct of servant-leadership and the understanding of the experiences thereof based on qualitative research

Davids, Bernadette (2006-12)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2006.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The main purpose of this paper is to give a theoretical construct of servant-leadership and the understanding thereof based on the life experiences of selected leaders in various organisations, ascertained by means of qualitative research. Servant-leadership as described by Greenleaf (1970) is an emerging value-based leadership style that attempts to enhance personal growth of workers and improve the quality of an organisation. This is achieved through a combination of teamwork and community, personal involvement in decision making and ethical and caring behaviour. The methodology applied, involved qualitative research, where qualitative interviews, as a phenomenological research method in evaluation, were used. The reasons for the choice of the research methodology as well as the procedure that was followed in selecting the participants, the role of the interviewer in relation to the research topic, the participants and the research setting, was also described. The research findings reveal that there are many similarities among various writers regarding qualities· and principles of servant-leaders. In the qualitative study which included one-on-one interviews with eight participants, similar information was revealed. It is recommended that leaders should examine their leadership styles and "grow" the necessary changes to enable a more approachable leadership style where the people's needs are met. In addition servant-leadership should be given greater emphasis at academic level so that the value of the discipline can be understood and applied and lived.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die hoofdoel van hierdie referaat is om 'n teoretiese konstruksie van 'servant-leadership' en die begrip daarvan, gebaseer op die lewenservaringe van 'n geselekteerde groep leiers van verskeie organisasies, te verkry. Dit is gedoen by wyse van kwalitatiewe navorsing. 'Servant-leadership' word deur Greenleaf (1970) as 'n waarde-gebaseerde leierskapstyl gesien wat poog om die persoonlike groei van werkers en die gehalte van organisasies te verbeter. Dit word bereik deur 'n kombinasie van spanwerk, gemeenskap en persoonlike betrokkenheid by besluitneming en etiese en empatiese gedrag. Die metodologie wat toegepas is sluit in kwalitatiewe navorsing waartydens kwalitatiewe onderhoude, as fenomenologiese navorsingsmetode gebruik is. Die redes vir hierdie keuse van navorsingsmetodologie, asook die prosedure. wat gevolg is, met die keuse van die deelnemers, die rol van die onderhoudvoerder in verhouding tot die navorsingsonderwerp, die deelnemers en die navorsings opset, was ook uiteengesit. Die navorsing bewys dat daar baie ooreenkomste is onder die verskillende skrywers se sieninge aangaande die kwaliteite en beginsels van 'servant-leadership.' Uit die kwalitatiewe navorsing wat individuele onderhoude met die deelnemers ingesluit het, is dieselfde inligting voortgebring. Dit word aanbeveel dat leiers hul leierskapstyle ondersoek en die nodige veranderings aanbring on 'n meer benaderingsvolle leierskapstyl te ontwikkel wat die behoeftes van mense vervul. 'Servant-leadership' behoort ook onderrig te word by akademiese instellings sodat die waarde van die dissipline verstaan, toegepas en uitgeleef kan word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/50580
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