Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Management

Advisor

Jean Gordon

Abstract

Business researchers have shown that servant leaders empower, provide long-term vision, and serve their workers and followers better than do nonservant leaders. High performance work practices (HPWPs) and corporate social performance (CSP) can enhance employee and firm productivity. However, when overused or poorly managed, HPWPs and CSP can lead to the business problems of employee disengagement, overload, or anxiety. Scholars noted a gap in human resource management research regarding whether leadership styles affect HPWPs and CSP use. This study examined the relationship between leadership style and the use of HPWPs and CSP, by using a quantitative, nonexperimental design. U.S. business leaders (N = 287) completed a survey consisting of 3 previously published scales. A chi-square analysis calculated the servant to nonservant leader ratio in the population, finding a disproportionate ratio (1:40) of servant (n = 7) to nonservant (n = 280) leaders. Two t tests showed that no significant difference existed in how servant and nonservant leaders use HPWPs or CSP. However, a multiple linear regression model showed that a leader's self-reported characteristics of empowerment, vision, or service positively predicted CSP use; empowerment positively predicted HPWPs use; service negatively predicted HPWPs use; and vision had no effect on HPWPs use. Findings may help human resource practitioners identify leaders who use HPWPs or CSP differently. Positive social change may occur by hiring more visionary, empowering, or service-oriented leaders who can support overwhelmed or anxious workers, potentially leading to more engaged and productive workers, and an increase in the use of positive CSP.