Date of Conferral

1-1-2010

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Management

Advisor

Robert E. Levasseur

Abstract

Servant leadership, which promotes virtuousness and altruism, is gaining attention as a potential solution to the perceived leadership crisis, as evidenced by the ethical breakdown of some of America's largest corporations. Entrepreneurs, who represent 99% of all employers, play a significant role in the American economy as innovative risk takers and early adopters. As such, it is important to understand how they relate to servant leadership. The purpose of this quantitative study was to explore research questions related to (a) the extent to which servant leadership is practiced by small business entrepreneurs, and (b) the relationship between their levels of spirituality (i.e., virtuousness) and servant leadership. The study was grounded in both servant leadership theory and motivation (expectancy value and self-efficacy) theories. To address the research questions, the Spirituality Assessment Scale and the Servant Leadership Profile (Revised) were used to measure the levels of spirituality and servant leadership, respectively. Descriptive and inferential statistics (i.e., simple linear regression) were used to analyze data from surveys completed by a representative sample of 48 small business entrepreneurs. This analysis revealed (a) a 21% level of servant leadership practice among the sample of small business entrepreneurs, and (b) a statistically significant, negative correlation between spirituality and servant leadership. These findings suggest that (a) a positive connection between spirituality and servant leadership should not be presumed, and (b) servant leadership research should take its place among nonreligious perspectives on leadership. This study contributes to social change by fostering the growth of servant leadership in a broader segment of the leadership population, thus addressing the perceived leadership crisis more effectively.