In recent years, servant leadership has gained currency as a promising pathway for inclusive organizations, where individuals can experience a sense of belonging and participate in decision-making. Given the framework’s significant attitudinal and behavioral demands, potential servant-leaders may need to consider the costs and benefits of the servant leadership mantle. Drawing from a conservation of resources theory, I propose that both individuals and organizations will increasingly need to consider the personal and environmental conditions (i.e., resource caravans) that support servant leader behaviors. Specifically, I examine servant leadership from a critical lens, asking the question of how women and members of underrepresented groups might negotiate their own leadership in organizational cultures where they do not match the leader prototype. Finally, the business case of ServiceMaster, a Fortune 500 service firm that embedded servant leadership into their management praxis, is discussed to illustrate a pathway for how businesses might better cultivate and support their servant-leaders.
Chung, Helen H., "Servant Leadership at ServiceMaster: A Commitment to Love, Development, and Diversity" (2020). Pollard Research Fellowship Papers. 5.
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