Advertisement

Servant Leadership as a Pathway to a Sustainable Future

  • Christopher G. BeehnerEmail author
Chapter
  • 55 Downloads
Part of the Management for Professionals book series (MANAGPROF)

Abstract

Servant leadership is a much-examined leadership style wherein leaders lead followers by serving them, providing a pathway for leaders to look beyond themselves and their organization, by serving the common, greater good of humanity. Civilization currently faces environmental and social challenges which can only be managed through sustainable actions. Many of these actions will require individuals, groups, and organizations consider the common good ahead of their own good. Therefore, servant leadership presents a viable avenue for leaders to influence humankind to evolve beyond the short-term thinking that created current unsustainable conditions on Earth. This chapter will examine servant leadership as a pathway to a sustainable future. Readers will be invited to reflect on the relevance of this leadership style through review of the servant leadership and sustainability literature. Because leadership for sustainability requires a new form of leadership based on how individuals desire to be treated, motivated, and led, servant leadership will be examined and modeled as a necessary leadership style for the achievement of a sustainable future. Examples of sustainability leaders who embrace the ethos of servant leadership are included and reviewed.

Keywords

Servant leadership Leadership Sustainability Sustainability leadership Sustainable development 

References

  1. Avery, G. C., & Bergsteiner, H. (2011a). Sustainable leadership: Honeybee and locust approaches. Abingdon, England: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Avery, G. C., & Bergsteiner, H. (2011b). How BMW successfully practices sustainable leadership principles. Strategy & Leadership, 39(6), 11–18.  https://doi.org/10.1108/10878571111176583CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Avolio, B. J., Bass, B. M., & Jung, D. (1999). Re–examining the components of transformational and transactional leadership using the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 7, 441–462.  https://doi.org/10.1348/096317999166789CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bass, B. M., Avolio, B. J., Jung, D. I., & Berson, Y. (2003). Predicting unit performance by assessing transformational and transactional leadership. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(2), 207–218.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.88.2.207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Beehner, C. G. (2019). Spirituality, sustainability & success: Concepts and cases. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brown, M. E., & Treviňo, L. K. (2006). Ethical leadership: A review and future directions. The Leadership Quarterly, 17(6), 595–616.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2006.10.004CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brundtland, G. (Ed.). (1987). Our common future: The world commission on environment and development. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Burns, H., Diamond-Vaught, H., & Bauman, C. (2015). Leadership for sustainability: Theoretical foundations and pedagogical practices that foster change. International Journal of Leadership Studies, 9(1), 88–100. Retrieved from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.eduGoogle Scholar
  9. Cavagnaro, E., & Curiel, G. H. (2012). The three levels of sustainability. Sheffield, England: Greenleaf.Google Scholar
  10. Cooper, K. (2018, July 3). Who is the servant leader really serving? Forbes. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/katecooper/2018/07/03/who-is-the-servant-leader-really-serving/#10b69b49323c
  11. Dalati, S., Raudeliūnienė, J., & Davidavičienė, V. (2017). Sustainable leadership, organizational trust on job satisfaction: Empirical evidence from higher education institutions in Syria. Business, Management and Education, 15(1), 14–27.  https://doi.org/10.3846/bme.2017.360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Drucker, P. F. (2001). The essential Drucker: The best of sixty years of Peter Drucker’s essential writings on management. New York: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
  13. Ferdig, M. A. (2007). Sustainability leadership: Co-creating a sustainable future. Journal of Change Management, 7(1), 25–35.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14697010701233809CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Foundation for Deep Ecology. (2012). Some thought on the deep ecology movement. San Francisco: Author. Retrieved from http://www.deepecology.org/Google Scholar
  15. Graham, J. (1998). Servant-leadership and enterprise strategy. In L. Spears (Ed.), Insights on leadership: Service, stewardship, spirit, and servant-leadership (pp. 145–156). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  16. Greenleaf, R. K. (1970). The servant as leader. Indianapolis, IN: The Robert K. Greenleaf Center.Google Scholar
  17. Greenleaf, R. K. (1977). Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. New York: Paulist Press.Google Scholar
  18. Harvey, M. (2001). The hidden force: A critique of normative approaches to business leadership. SAM Advanced Management Journal, 66(4), 36. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.comGoogle Scholar
  19. Hawken, P. (2007). Blessed unrest: How the largest movement in the world came into being and why no one saw it coming. New York: Penguin Group.Google Scholar
  20. Heifetz, R. (1994). Leadership without easy answers. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Heifetz, R., Grashow, A., & Linsky, M. (2009). The practice of adaptive leadership. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing.Google Scholar
  22. Hesse, H. (1957). The journey to the East. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  23. House, R. J., Spangler, W. D., & Woycke, J. (1991). Personality and charisma in the U.S. presidency: A psychological theory of leader effectiveness. Administrative Science Quarterly, 36(3), 364–396.  https://doi.org/10.2307/2393201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ireland, R. D., & Hill, M. A. (2005). Achieving and maintaining strategic competitiveness in the 21st century: The role of strategic leadership. Academy of Management Executive, 19, 63–77.  https://doi.org/10.5465/ame.1999.1567311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kincaid, M. (2012). Building corporate social responsibility through servant-leadership. International Journal of Leadership Studies, 7(2), 151–171. Retrieved from https://www.regent.eduGoogle Scholar
  26. Kouzes, J., & Posner, B. (2012). The leadership challenge (5th ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  27. Laub, J. (1999). Assessing the servant organization: Development of the servant organizational assessment (SOLA) instrument. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Boca Raton, FL: Florida Atlantic University.Google Scholar
  28. McCann, J. T., & Holt, R. A. (2010). Servant and sustainable leadership: An analysis in the manufacturing environment. International Journal of Management Practice, 4(2), 134–148.  https://doi.org/10.1504/IJMP.2010.033691CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Metcalf, L., & Benn, S. (2012). The corporation is ailing social technology: Creating a ‘fit for purpose’ design for sustainability. Journal of Business Ethics, 111(2), 195–210.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-012-1201-1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Metcalf, L., & Benn, S. (2013). Leadership for sustainability: An evolution of leadership ability. Journal of Business Ethics, 112(3), 369–384.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-012-1278-6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Northouse, P. G. (2018). Leadership: Theory and practice (8th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  32. Parkin, S. (2010). The positive deviant: Sustainability leadership in a perverse world. Washington, DC: Earthscan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Pearce, C. L., & Conger, J. A. (2003). Shared leadership: Reframing the hows and whys of leadership. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  34. Peterlin, J., Pearse, N. J., & Dimovski, V. (2015). Strategic decision making for organizational sustainability: The implications of servant leadership and sustainable leadership approaches. Economic & Business Review, 17(3), 273–290.  https://doi.org/10.15458/85451.4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rodriguez, M. A., Ricart, J. E., & Sanchez, P. (2002). Sustainable development and sustainability of competitive advantage: A dynamic and sustainable view of the firm. Sustainable Development and Competitive Advantage, 11(3), 135–146.  https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8691.00246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Schwantes, M. (2017a, March 29). The world’s 10 top CEOs (They lead in a totally unique way). Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/heres-a-top-10-list-of-the-worlds-best-ceos-but-they-lead-in-a-totally-unique-wa.html
  37. Schwantes, M. (2017b, August 29). Starbucks' former president reveals 6 leadership traits that led to his wild success. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/starbucks-former-president-reveals-6-leadership-tr.html
  38. Senge, P. (2002). Afterword. In R. Greenleaf (Ed.), Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness (25th anniversary ed., pp. 343–359). Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press.Google Scholar
  39. Shriberg, M., & MacDonald, L. (2013). Sustainability leadership programs: Emerging goals, methods & best practices. Journal of Sustainability Education, 5, 1–21. Retrieved from http://www.susted.org/Google Scholar
  40. Šimanskienė, L., & Župerkienė, E. (2014). Sustainable leadership: The new challenge for organizations. Forum Scientiae Oeconomia, 2(1), 81–93. Retrieved from www.wsb.edu.pl.forum/Google Scholar
  41. Slankis, E. (2006). Sustainable thinking, sustainable leadership-the new E.Q. Leadership, 2006.Google Scholar
  42. Spears, L. C. (1998). Creating caring leadership for the 21st century. The Not-For-Profit CEO Monthly Newsletter, 4(9). Indianapolis, IN: The Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant-Leadership.Google Scholar
  43. Spears, L. C., & Lawrence, M. (2002). Focus on leadership: Servant–leadership for the 21st century. New York: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  44. Starbucks. (2018). Starbucks announces global greener stores commitment. Seattle, WA: Author. Retrieved from https://news.starbucks.com/press-releases/starbucks-announces-global-greener-stores-commitmentGoogle Scholar
  45. Taylor, S., & Pearse, N. (2009). Creating sustainable organizations through servant leadership. The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences: Annual Review, 4(4), 223–234.  https://doi.org/10.18848/1833-1882/CGP/v04i04/52885CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. van Dierendonck, D., & Sousa, M. (2016). Finding meaning in highly uncertain situations: Servant leadership during change. In Leadership lessons from compelling contexts (pp. 403–424). Bingley, England: Emerald Group.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Visser, W., & Courtice, P. (2011). Sustainability leadership: Linking theory and practice. Cambridge, England: Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.  https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1947221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Walumbwa, F. O., Avolio, B. J., Gardner, W. L., Wernsing, T. S., & Peterson, S. J. (2008). Authentic leadership: Development and validation of a theory-based measure. Journal of Management, 34(1), 89–126.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0149206307308913CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wheatley, M. J. (2006). Leadership and the new science: Discovering order in a chaotic world. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.Google Scholar
  50. Zohar, D. (1997). Rewiring the corporate brain: Using the new science to rethink how we structure and lead organizations. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Business, Legal Studies, and Entrepreneurship, Seminole State College of FloridaSanfordUSA

Personalised recommendations