Servant Leadership in the Last Decade : A Systematic Review

Umaru Mustapha Zubairu



As the world grapples with the effects of the Corona Virus pandemic, the importance of leadership at all levels of an organization has been brought into the sharp focus. Servant leadership is a philosophy that advocates that the primary focus of leaders is to serve their followers, and such a philosophy in theory could be important during these troubling times. Using the Systematic Quantitative Assessment Technique, this study conducted a systematic review of 179 servant leadership (SL) articles published over the last decade (2010–2019) to provide insight as to the efficacy of this leadership style in inspiring followers to give their best efforts. Besides this primary objective, this review also sought to understand the time distribution, geographic distribution, types and data collection methods of these SL articles. Review of empirical evidence revealed that SL was very effective in inspiring followers to go above and beyond in helping to achieve an organization’s objectives. The review also revealed that over the last decade, interest in SL has grown from year to year, with most of the research in Asia and North America. Furthermore, most SL research has been empirical in nature, with surveys being the favoured means of data collection. There has been a dearth of qualitative studies in extant SL scholarship, and this represents a significant gap which future researchers should endeavour to address.


servant leadership; Systematic Quantitative Assessment Technique; review


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