Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Leadership PhD

First Advisor

Sylvia Gonzalez

Second Advisor

Tevni E. Grojales

Third Advisor

Gary Gifford

Abstract

Problem. Servant leadership scholars have claimed that servant-led business organizations are more financially viable, but these claims are based on anecdotal evidence. This quantitative study examines the relationship of servant leadership to revenue generation in business organizations by analyzing the predictability of servant leadership attributes on sales performance. This was accomplished by studying salespersons in the healthcare industry.

Method. One hundred ninety-four study participants completed questionnaires providing quantitative measurements of the seven factors of servant leadership: (a) developing and empowering others, (b) humility, (c) authentic leadership, (d) open participatory leadership, (e) inspiring leadership, (f) visionary leadership, and (g) courageous leadership, utilizing the Servant Leadership Profile—Revised (SLPR). Sales performance was measured by sales ranking within each respective salesperson’s company, and broken down into three categories; (a) Top 20%, (b) 21% - 40% and (c) 41% and below.

Results. Discriminant function analysis generated two discriminant functions that were significant. The first discriminant function was labeled Voice and had the strongest relationship with the following factors of servant leadership: developing and empowering others, authentic leadership, and visionary leadership. The first discriminant function was a good predictor of sales performance. The second discriminant function was labeled Human Resource Management and had the strongest relationship with the following factors of servant leadership: open participatory leadership, courageous leadership, and inspiring leadership. The second discriminant function predicted membership in the 21% - 40% sales-ranking group, mediocre sales performance. One factor of servant leadership, humility, was eliminated as a predictor of sales performance.

Conclusions. Developing and empowering others, authentic leadership, and visionary leadership are good predictors of sales performance. Open participatory leadership, courageous leadership, and inspiring leadership predict mediocre sales performance. Humility was eliminated as a predictor of sales performance. Business leaders with high mean scores for developing and empowering others, authentic leadership, and visionary leadership are likely to have a positive impact on the financial viability of a business organization.

Subject Area

Servant leadership, Sales management, Personnel management, Leadership, Success in business

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